Should you be a singer? Learn what a music career is really like! In this job description, a singer songwriter shares career tips for the music industry. Singing is a job that’s as glamorous as it is gritty.
Lorne Warr, the front man of The Streels, blends his musical talents along with storytelling and songwriting gifts to create original music along with Maritime and Celtic tunes.
“I was surrounded by music growing up in Newfoundland and I learned to play instruments by ear,” says Warr. “I’ve learned to play the classical guitar, Celtic guitar, mandolin, accordion, harmonica, bodhran and banjo.”
A career in music involves more than jamming with a group of musicians; it requires practice, talent, and persistence. Here’s Lorne’s perspective on what it’s like to be a professional musician.
Job Description of a Singer Songwriter
In addition to playing music by ear, Warr attended the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, which gave him a solid background in musical theory.
“Doing this for a career means that you are always learning,” he says. “I have to keep things fresh and have to continue to create music that people will respond to and that is satisfying for me to perform.”
Being creative with singing, songwriting and performing is not all that’s involved in being a musician. “There’s also the business side of things such as arranging contracts and getting venues,” Warr notes.
How Much Money Do Musicians Make?
“I don’t know what the average salary is in the work that I do,” says Warr. “It can range from performing for nothing to being a multi-millionaire.” On average Warr says that he earns anywhere from $100 per gig to $1,000 per gig and up.
The Best Part of a Music Career
Warr describes music as his passion. “I love to play music which is why I have made it my career,” he says. “Feeding off the reaction of the crowd to the music that is being performed is very energizing.”
The Downside of Being a Singer
One of the things that Warr doesn’t like is the financial insecurity that is involved in being a professional musician. But he also doesn’t enjoy “many of the things that are necessary to the performance of music but are not music related such as lugging equipment, worrying about contracts, and being responsible for every aspect of the non-creative logistics,” he says.
The Surprising Thing About Working in the Music Industry
“I think the fans would be surprised to see how much work it takes to write a song, book a gig, and how much time it takes to make a CD and market it,” Warr says. And this doesn’t include how much time it takes to practice an instrument or rehearse with the band.
Career Tips for Singer Songwriters
Warr tells people to “do it if you love it,” but warns them to “be aware that the business side of things can be harder than expected.” He’s happy to report that, “if you make it work you spend most of your time doing the thing that you love, which is something that most people don’t get to do.”
Written by Gini Grey, author of the book, From Chaos to Calm: How to Shift Unhealthy Stress Patterns and Create Your Ideal Balance in Life. For more articles, visit Insights & Inspiration.