No matter how skilled a musician you are, personal temperament has a lot to do with the success of every musician. Even if you have a degree in music – or have taken lessons for years – certain ingredients combine in the individual to generate a path to success in this extremely demanding instrument. Here are five traits every successful musician has.
Above all else, musicians must have a strong work ethic in order to succeed. The music industry is a taxing one, and the path to financial and creative success is a longer and harder one to furrow than it often is in other industries. It goes without saying that you don't have to be a workaholic to be a successful musician, but without a strong work ethic and dedication to what you're producing – long-term – you won't be successful.
Determination means that you continue doing what you do regardless of what other people say or do to discourage, embarrass, or shame you. Determined people continue to live the way they choose in the face of adversity. During your career, there will always be people who criticize you, from family members who chastise you for not choosing something more lucrative to the critic who totally pans your album in that magazine you submitted to. Determination means you won't bow down to their negativity – and that you'll eventually rise above.
Even if you're a tremendously successful musician already, your continued success depends on you being approachable. This doesn't mean having no boundaries – because after all, everyone should maintain them – but it does mean being receptive to people who approach you with opportunities or questions, from reporters to fans. It's perfectly acceptable to draw the line at dealing with people who openly harass you, but being approachable will gain you a good reputation in the music industry, particularly among your fans.
Emotional resilience is a must-have in the music world. The disappointments of the industry will sometimes outweigh the victories, and dedicated musicians must be able to endure those disappointments with grace – and without it destroying them or their goals for their career. Resilience doesn't mean ignoring the negatives – it means processing them and moving on from them while still knowing your worth and ability.
Of course creativity is essential to music-making, but creativity is a quality that's applicable to absolutely everything, from marketing your music to packing your tour van properly. Creative people are often able to find solutions to problems that others may not have thought of, and subsequently is a quality essential to every area of your music career.
From performers to music educators, these five qualities are must-haves to the success of every musician.