3. Get educated
There are only so many letters in the alphabet. When I talk to young musicians or authors and they ask for advice, I say, ’You gotta learn all the letters of your own personal alphabet. With music, you need to know all the different kinds of music and everything in and around your given instrument.’
–David Lee Roth
Most musicians know far too little about the music business, and they don’t care about it at all. The first problem with this is that it will be very hard to become successful on a larger scale if you do not understand how things work. The lack of knowledge will force you to remain on a low level, and it will prevent you from making it on your own. The second problem is that chances are big that you’ll be fooled, used and dumped if you don’t get the basics. You will have to rely on other people, and once they lose interest in you, you will be lost. This even happens to many top selling stars – once they get older, they’re being abandoned by their producers, which kills off their career as they don’t have a clue what to do as soon as they’re on their own.
So if you want to become successful on your own, and if you don’t want to depend on other people all of the time, then you’ll need to learn as much as you can about this business.
You must be lucky, as the most important things can be found in this manual. Most musicians also know far too little about popular music itself. Per definition, popular music includes music from the 19th century already – but if we talk about pop music, then we usually mean the music that has been created since the 1950s. You should also be aware that per definition pop music includes all genres, from folk over disco to death metal.
If you want to make great music, then you have to be inspired by great artists.
This is why you’ll have to learn as much as possible about the Masters Of The Past, from the 50s till today, no matter what genre you’re doing. You’ll see that most of the greatest music has been written and recorded from the mid 1950s to the mid 1990s, and there will be a lot to be discovered. This is why you cannot skip chapter 3 by the way. Most of today’s Top 40 crap is inspired by music from this Golden Age Of Popular Music, but in a very bad way – it’s a pure rip-off, and it’s being done with the sole intention of making quick cash. It’s not art, it’s pure entertainment, and that’s the origin of the quality problems today’s music has. The idea behind chapter 3 of this manual is to tell you about some of the greatest artists, albums, and songs of all times. This is where your inspiration shall come from, and this manual shall teach you how to use that inspiration in order to create real art. One last but very important note:
Don’t limit yourself by only listening to music in your favourite genre.
Unconventional combinations of ideas will help you to think out of the box and to create something new, something different that will allow you to stand out of the masses.
Choose quality, not genre.