What does it mean to be a successful musician?

“I do not desire that you shall esteem me greater as an artist, but better and more perfect as a man.”  – Ludwig van Beethoven

What is a successful music career?

To find out, you could try typing “music”, “career” and “success” into a Google search.

Your search will return several pages of links explaining how to achieve a successful music career. Many will offer a step-by-step process to becoming a musical sensation. Others offer workshops and seminars.

“Concert”, Weeklydig

All of those articles likely assume that you desire increased record sales. High profile gigs. Rubbing shoulders with famous names. Profitable tours. Fame. Recognition from your peers. Sponsorships. Fans.

All of these are wonderful goals. Unfortunately, they are also very difficult to realize.

Realistically, most musicians will not achieve worldwide fame. Many will never record hit songs, tour to exotic locations, or become wealthy. The music industry is full of frustrated performers who feel like failures because they never reached a certain level of recognition.

Is success possible for the vast majority of musicians?  Well, if the definition of success is being commercially profitable or widely popular, then the answer is no.

“Success and the art of making music are two different things to me.” – Norah Jones, in a 2008 interview in Marie Claire magazine.

However, if the definition of success is to fulfill a greater purpose, then every musician can be successful.

Ask yourself these questions.

Have you become a better person through your music? Are you more sensitive? Patient? Disciplined? Loving? Understanding?

Have you reached at least one person with your music? Were they impacted positively? Is their world a little brighter because your music entered it?

musicians-690591_1280Has your creativity brought you closer to your Creator? Does your music allow you to connect to Him in a way you wouldn’t have otherwise?

If you can answer yes to those questions, then you have achieved musical success in three important areas: internally, relationally, and spiritually.

“Success materially and failure spiritually is no success at all.” – Andrew W.K, “How Do I Become a Successful Musician”, VillageVoice.com

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set lofty musical goals. You can desire to be a performer for the ages, a musician revered for your skill, an artist who creates timeless music for millions.

But true success begins when you know what really matters.

What does success mean to you? Share this post and discuss with your fellow musicians and artists. 

Header Photo Credit: “Orquestra Arte Viva” by Gerardo Lazzari

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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