Our FOCUS on You talent program supports young musicians to find their individual path. Our workshops focus on skills that are useful in this process: self-leadership, project management, social media, international cooperation, storytelling, and basic legal knowledge. In this post, we took into account skills and knowledge which will help a young performer or composer in the classical music field to show his music to the world.
A generation before us, many musicians left university and started working in that job, from which they then retired. Nowadays, the so-called portfolio career is more common: a musician can play in an orchestra, but can also work as a soloist or in a chamber formation, teach, develop online courses, and dream up and organize their own concert projects. Not everyone will choose this path, but those who do should equip themselves with the skills and knowledge below.
- Passionate love of music
Are you prepared to spend 10-12 hours a day on the same thing for years, decades, often every day of the week? This will be very difficult without a passion for doing it. Just as the basic condition for success in the music business is to strive for the highest possible musical quality.
- Strategic planning
Every month, every week, every day, a musician has to make a lot of decisions, including what projects to take part in and how to spend their time. A clear vision can help a lot: where you want to go, what your goals are. Defining these in advance for the medium and long term (and reviewing them regularly) will make it easier to decide what the next right step is.
- Organizational skills
Even if you have other people who help you realize your project idea, it is important to be aware of the basics of project planning and management. For a project, it is essential to develop the basic concept of the idea, define the target audience, search for possible sources, assess the pitfalls and strategies to avoid them, and finally evaluate the success of the project. These tasks exist even if you want to perform in the biggest concert hall with your chamber orchestra, but also if you organize a masterclass in your garden.
- Communication skills
Audiences are rarely satisfied with only musical tunes these days. On the one hand, they want to know as much as possible about the works performed at a concert, the composers, the instruments that play, and the creative process. On the other hand, we want to know the musician as a person: their dreams, dilemmas, motivations, and their relationship to music. Whether it’s a simple biography, a big interview, your blog, or your pre-concert introduction, it’s essential that you consciously develop your written and oral communication skills.
- Digital skills
The digital presence has significantly increased the circle, both geographically and personally, to which you can deliver your music and message. Use your website and social media consciously, and be self-conscious and strategic. In a broader sense, this also includes building your personal brand, the tricks of which you can learn step by step.
Classical music is not a solitary genre. You have to work in a team every day, even if you are building your solo career. Moreover, these collaborations no longer know geographical boundaries. Being able to work well with others is a critical skill in the business world. People have different personalities and work styles, and despite these differences, they create something together. Feeling responsible for the team’s success always helps overcome obstacles.
- Flexibility, openness
The ability to accept change and quick reaction are skills that can help you through even the most difficult stages. Young people involved in classical music must remain open to collaborating with new people, planning more diverse music programs, and using new software and communication tools.
- Legal and financial knowledge
Recently, at a workshop, a musician stated that legal knowledge serves the self-defence of artists and is therefore essential. It is important for a musician to be aware that a contract is not just a piece of paper, to know and enforce their rights, and to know when to contact a professional. In the same way, it is essential to have your tax affairs in order, plan your finances consciously and with foresight.
- Resilience, striving for a balanced life
In Great Britain, the performers’ union recently dedicated an entire month to raising awareness of the need to protect the mental health of musicians. In times of crisis, it is especially important to focus on physical, spiritual and mental health in the same way as on exercise or business planning. Stress management techniques can help with this, but at a certain point, it is worth contacting a specialist.
10+1. Time management
In order to fit all this into 24 hours, you have to consciously plan your schedule. It’s important to find the most suitable methods, whether it’s weekly planning and evaluation, consciously planned free time or tools to help you focus (such as the Pomodoro method). The point is not to get more done, but to deal with the tasks that are most important.