Your chances of becoming a successful professional musician are next to none if you ask the same questions asked by the musicians who contact me on a daily basis. 99% of the time, aspiring pro musicians ask me all the WRONG types of questions that:

1. Are built from ignorant assumptions and mythology about how the music business works.

2. Sound like good questions on the surface level, but will actually take you way far off course (preventing you from accomplishing anything significant in your music career).

3. Ignore crucial actions that are required for the development of a successful music career. For more about this, read the information in this article I wrote about building a career as a professional musician.

To grow your music career fast, you need to understand which questions you are asking that are leading you down the wrong path and replace those questions with much higher quality ones that will help you reach your greatest musical goals in little time.

The following questions are the worst questions you can ask when trying to succeed in the music industry:

Bad Music Career Question #1: What Is The Best Music City To Move To?

Many musicians think they will be much more likely to succeed in the music industry by moving to a ‘music city’. Then with this belief in mind, they pack up their things and move, believing that opportunities will simply ‘fall into their lap’ once they arrive. Once they have been in their new location for a while and nothing has changed, they blame it on the city and look for a new location to move to (while being completely unaware of the TRUE reasons why they aren’t successful).

Here’s the truth about ‘location’ leading to success in the music industry: Your location has nothing to do with your ability to become a successful pro musician. This applies particularly today when it is easier than ever for someone to get a recording contract, put out music, organize world tours or work as a session musician regardless of where they live. Highly successful musicians do not become that way because they lived in one area rather than another. If that were true, there would be zero successful musicians living in cities that are not known for big music scenes. The principles that lead to developing a successful music career apply exactly the same regardless of where you live.

Rather than making the massive (wasted) effort of trying to research and find the best music scene, go through the following process that has been PROVEN to work for musicians:

1. Clearly identify your musical goals (for help, read this page on how to set musical goals).

2. Get music industry coaching and put together an effective strategy for achieving your greatest musical goals.

3. Work each day to get closer to achieving your goals until you reach them.

When you focus on what is most important (using the process above), you will achieve success in your music career much faster.

Bad Music Career Question #2: How Do You Get A Record Deal?

To really know why this is not a good questions to ask, answer this: “What’s in it for someone else to give you a record deal?” If you think the main thing you offer to a record company is good music writing skills... think again. This is simply not enough incentive for a music company to want to work with you. People will not invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into your music career just because you’ve written some nice music. Think about it like this: Let’s say you saved up a couple hundred thousand dollars - Would you go spend it all to bet on a horse at the race track OR would you try to find someone to invest it into who can prove to you that they have the ability help you make a big return? Certainly you would make the prudent choice and work with the person who would help you earn more money. This is the same mindset that record label executives have. Therefore, you need to stop worrying about how you can ‘get signed’ and begin making yourself into the best possible investment a record company could take. Hint: This means doing a lot more than just writing music, playing an instrument or having a Facebook music page.

Here are the actions you should be taking to make yourself into a great investment for a record company:

1. Know precisely what music companies look for in you before they will sign you to a record deal.

2. Do anything you can by yourself to grow your music career. Record companies will observe your ‘track record’ of success before they consider if working with you will be the right choice for them. The more you have accomplished on your own (as an independent musician) the greater the chances are that you will attract the interest of a music company.

3. Get music industry coaching from an experienced trainer who understands what it takes to get signed to a record deal and build a successful career in music.

When you begin successfully growing your music career on your own, you won’t have to continue trying to find ways to get a record deal - record companies will come looking for you!

Bad Music Career Question #3: How Can I Avoid Becoming A ‘Starving Artist’?

It’s a common belief that working as a professional musician leads you to one of two outcomes: Either you ‘make it big’ and become a huge rock start (earning millions of dollars and touring worldwide) or you have to play in smoky bars for the rest of your musical life just to earn a few dollars. This myth is NOT true and (if you believe it) will be extremely damaging to your music career success because it will cause you to get a regular job while ‘trying to do music on the side’, or hesitate to even enter the music business at all.

In reality, there exist tons of ways to earn good money in the music business and there is actually a HUGE ‘middle class’ in the music industry. In fact, it’s EASIER to earn good money with a secure job as a professional musician than it is to become successful in other fields of business. However, before you can make this happen, you need to ask a higher quality question. Rather than worry about how you can ‘avoid’ becoming a starving artist, you need to be thinking “How many different ways do I want to earn good money in the music industry?”

While working in the music industry, you don’t have to live from one paycheck to the next like in a normal day job. There is always a way to make multiple sources of income simultaneously. Instead of worrying about job security because you make just ONE source of income (as with most ‘normal’ jobs) you can have total security by earning money from MANY sources. Here are some ways you can earn money in the music industry: selling your music from your personal website, performing on stage or recording musical parts as a musician for hire. Also you can MASSIVELY boost your music related income by doing this:

Teach music lessons and build a large student base. This will instantly create various sources of income (having many different students) through working only part time hours every week. This will give you the free time to work on building your music career. Learn how to teach guitar lessons so you can begin earning money by teaching music.

When you build many sources of musical income as discussed above, it’s very possible (and not as hard as you might think) to annually earn more than $100k in your music career (I know this, because I’ve helped many musicians to do it). To learn more about this, read this page on how to make money as a musician.

Bad Music Career Question #4: How Can I Get My Music ‘Heard’ By More People?

Most musicians believe they will start making a good living in the music industry once they can get enough people to hear their music. In reality, it doesn’t matter very much how many people hear your music... What truly matters is the amount of people listening to your music who have been turned into FANATICS who do anything to support your music.

So instead of asking yourself “How can I get more people to listen to my music?” you must ask: “How can I develop a following of dedicated FANATICS?” Only after you have asked (and take action on) this question will it become necessary to get a lot more people to hear your music (because it will then be much more likely that you will be able to turn them into committed followers).

To find out more about gaining new fans and making money in music, read more about how to promote a music career.

Now that you’ve learned why many common music career questions actually steer your music career down the wrong path, here is what you need to do to get back onto the right path:

Step 1. Think more in depth about your music career goals. Use the resources in this article to gain clarity about how the music industry works.

Step 2. Start asking yourself high quality questions on a consistent basis when trying to figure out what you must do to reach your music career goals.

Step 3. Don’t build your music career alone. Get music industry coaching to quickly accomplish great things in your music career.

Author's Bio: 

Tom Hess is a music career mentor, touring musician and guitarist. He teaches online guitar lessons to musicians all over the world and mentors musicians on how to build a successful music career. Visit his website for music instruction to get many free musician resources to help you start a career in music and learn about the music industry.