The Myth Of Musical Talent

Talented-people How much does talent affect trying to find work as a musician? Talent is important, but it takes more for people to hire you over someone else that may be equally talented. On Music Think Tank, Musician Wages has posted information on talent and some important traits that employers are looking for when hiring musicians.

“To be successful as a working musician it’s first important to establish yourself as part of the pool of talented professionals, then distinguish yourself among the competition with secondary characteristics that are important to your potential employers.”

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  1. Yeah, like show up on time, have a good attitude, and wear a suit! (Thanks to Jackie McLean for teaching us all how to be pros).

  2. Define “hire”…
    This article is relevant perhaps to wedding gigs or playing standards in a hotel lounge. Sure, professionalism and a good attitude are important.
    Let’s be real here. Talent is EVERYTHING. Hone your craft. Be really good. Really fucking good. There’s no “myth”.

  3. If you’re a side man, JB, it does take more than talent. Even sometimes if you’re an artist.
    As a manager of a few solo artists, I’ve definitely made decisions not to hire someone based on a poor reputation or not to re-hire someone based on a previous experience. You want talented people, no doubt, but you also want to avoid the talented people that do the following:
    1. think they’re the artist
    2. are too chatty
    3. Don’t show up on time
    4. Cancel on you at the last minute
    5. Are always complaining about (take your pick): the hotel, the food, the travel, the rehearsal space, the money
    6. Are always bugging you about getting an “advance” on their check
    7. Have a problem working with other members of a hired band
    I’ve also seen situations as a manager where artists with attitudes who may have been talented but either: a) hadn’t sold a record or b) had a poor follow to the first album alienated everyone at the label to the point where no one wanted to do anything to help their careers. This may not be as prevalent today but in the 90s it was rampant. All of these artists I had experience with were signed to majors and all of them sabotaged their careers by being difficult, unappreciative and arrogant.
    If you’re on top and making people money you can be as big a dick as you want. But if you are a dick and you falter, don’t expect anyone to be there to lend a hand.

  4. In all honesty while practicing is important talent will only bring you a 4th of the way. You have to be intelligent and a people person. You have to work well with others. There are many talented people in the streets singing for loose change.
    Preston Bowman

  5. Someone I respect once told me, “Make sure your talent is undeniable.” But that really is only part of the story. I agree wholeheartedly with Seth Keller above: show up on time (actually early), don’t complain, and most of all, follow Wheaton’s law, “Don’t be a dick!”

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