In this episode, Jared Judge discusses the importance of taking risks as a gigging musician. He reflects on his own experiences and highlights that being a successful musician isn't solely about being the best player, but rather about being willing to step out of one's comfort zone and embrace opportunities. Jared shares how he has taken risks in the music business, including investing in coaching, trying new marketing tactics, and pursuing higher-paying gigs. He encourages musicians to challenge themselves, trust their abilities, and be open to new possibilities.
Hey, what's up gigging pros! It's Jared Judge, welcome to another episode of The Gigging Musician Podcast. Today, I want to chat about taking risks. I was thinking about this, like, you, there's nothing special about me, like I talk about all these gigs that I get all these weddings, private events, corporate events, that kind of thing. And I do get a lot of them. And I think I'm very good at getting them. But there's nothing special about me as a musician, like, I'm not that great. Like, I'm a good musician, about all my fundamentals down, but I don't really practice that much. I'm not a virtuoso, I'm not going to be the next Joshua Bell, or an Jimi Hendrix, a violin, or Tracy Silverman for that matter. But why do I get all these gigs? You know, I do get some musicians who like think the reason why you get all these gigs, because you must be really good musician. And if you watch my videos, you'll see that I, I don't play perfectly, I make some mistakes I play out of tune every so often. And I sometimes rush through, so rhythms, yet, I still get hired a lot more than musicians who are so much better than me. And what is the reason for that? And I think one of the big things that it boils down to is that I take a lot more risks than other musicians. And I'm not talking about musical risks, like, you know, as far as solos, although I do feel like, because I've gotten so comfortable taking risks, I do take some more musical risks, like I'll show up to a gig, having not played through a song before on the gig, which is very risky. I also do feel like my, the way that I play, solos can be a bit more risky. Like, I sometimes don't know, if my solos are gonna land. However, that's, that's not the thing that gets me hired, I think it's because I'm more comfortable taking risks in the arena of music business. And what that means is like, put myself into situations where I'm not comfortable, both on a, like social level, like, Hey, I'm an introvert, I'm awkward, what do I do, like, I'm still gonna put myself in those situations, and I'm comfortable that I will figure it out, I will survive. And then also, I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is, like, I'm willing to invest money into the business side, investment money into business coaching, is, you know, I am a part of a business coaching program that I'm spending$25,000 a year on. So I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is, most of willing to take risks, and learn new things that are outside the realm of what most musicians do. And then I'm willing to take risks with my website, and willing to try marketing tactics, like try applying real world marketing skills to the world of business, or sorry, the world of music. Instead of just having a typical musician, website. I think a lot of musicians, we stay too much in our comfort zone. And because it's comfortable, you know, it's easy to do like bar gigs. I'm not saying that they're easy to get, but it's easy to stay in that rut, where you're just sending out APKs and hoping that bar managers call you back. Or if you're a classical musician, the covered zone is to actually send out auditions. Or eventually, you know, most music, most classical musicians, they actually give up their dreams of playing for professional symphony, which is the typical goal for most classical musicians, Symphony opera, take your pick ballet, but they do take some risks and submit auditions, then that becomes the norm of spending tons of money on auditions, which typically don't work out, like, I know this, because I went through this myself. And then what happens next is that they settle into something less risky, such as becoming a public school teacher, which again, I'm not dissing because I that was me. It was less risky to get a job that paid. You know, in, when I was teaching in New Jersey, my salary was like 54,000 a year, which was not a bad salary for someone who just graduated college with a music degree. Like, Yeah, take that mom and dad, I can make money with my music degree. problem, though, was that it was not a risky position. It was something I didn't actually want and was a teaching job, which I didn't go to music school to become a teacher. Sorry for the dog again, classic. So we settled into these things that are just more comfortable. And then we lose sight of our dreams. What could have been what, what reality we truly do want. And then I see a lot of people justifying like, Oh, this is what we wanted all along. And if that's true, that's fine. But if I were to have said About my teaching position, I would have been lying to myself. And lying to yourself is probably a lot worse than lying to other people. Because what's the point of lying that yourself? So I feel like that's I did settle into that comfortable position, being a public school teacher for a while. But then I think that where it changed for me was when I decided to start taking some risks. So I used the comfort of my position to start like exploring other options. I went on Craigslist to look for musical opportunities. I found one, which was an acapella group rehearsing at a church a couple of miles from my house, when I was singing acapella in college and was in the dreamers, a five year alpha, it was a fraternity, acapella group, which was really fun. We actually did like a couple of trips. But back when, when I was teaching, I found this opportunity on Craigslist, and just had to submit, which was kind of risky, because you don't know if he could trust the things you find on Craigslist. And then, you know, joining some other project is not that risky, unless you find it on Craigslist. But starting your own venture, is the more risky endeavor. And that's, to me, that's what you all have done. If you're a gigging musician, typically, you probably have your own act, like either you're going out solo, or you've started a band, or an ensemble, like a string quartet, brass quartet quintet. That is riskier. And I absolutely commend you for that. But then, when when you create this ensemble, the comfortable thing is to pursue the same opportunities that most musicians pursue, which for cover bands, and solo acts tends to be bars and festivals, which don't pay very well. It's like, in a weird in a weird way, it's like high risk, low reward. Like there's no no money in that. So you are taking risks, but it's a comfortable risk, it is less comfortable, to take risks and pursue the higher paying gigs, which to me, in my arena is the corporate events and weddings. And it's risky, because the path is less clear. Which to me was why I invested in business training and coaching. So that I could be equipped with that, I guess, in a way is like I'm taking the risk, and may as well give myself the best chance of success to edit. And most musicians weren't taught that way to get these gigs. So let me arm myself for battle, you know. But then following through is risky. putting more money into website, putting money into Facebook ads is risky. But you guys see that I have success with these things. And it's because I was willing to take that risk. It's kind of like, you never know what's going to happen unless you if you play the game, you can't win the lottery unless you play. And of course, you know, not everybody is guaranteed to win. But you have no chance of winning, if you don't play at all, play you as Wayne Gretzky quote by Michael Scott, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. And so I guess the point of this is like, take some more risks, get out of your comfort zone, be willing to trust yourself first. Because what's the worst that could happen? You know, I had a coach, I still have a coach who that is one of their big things that frees people up to do to take these risks is to actually think through the worst possible scenario. And for him early in his life, or I don't know if he specifically went through this, but somebody told him once, that what's the worst that could happen with running a business, which is going bankrupt? Which that actually is, I mean, I've never experienced this, and hopefully I never do. But he said bankruptcy is not the worst thing in the world. It is like a second chance that the founding fathers of our country gave to all the future citizens, the ability to take risks through the act of bankruptcy. And while it sounds like a very scary word, and to me, it is still very scary. You know, I still do feel confident knowing that like, even the worst case scenario is not the end of the world. And for your music, like the stakes to me are so much lower. Like maybe that's why I'm comfortable taking risks is because like if I go and decide to take a risk and put myself About they're at a networking group with a bunch of private event planners. What's the worst case scenario? embarrass myself in front of a couple people. And hey, maybe well, I'll be able to make a joke of it, make them laugh. And well, then they become my friends. Like, they're human, too. It's not like, I'm approaching these high business, high class business people. They're just normal people like me, worst case scenario, become friends with them, or even worst case scenarios, like they don't like me. And we just don't talk and don't get a gig, which, that's honestly the situation that came into it. Before, you know, before meeting with them, I'll be no worse off than when I started. It same for all these other things. Like if you risk some money on coaching, and it doesn't work out for you? Well, you learned from the process. To me like either, when you put money on a on a project, there are two possible outcomes. One is you best case scenario, you get the results that you were hoping for, when you invest the money, or two, worst case scenario, you paid money to learn a lesson, which, hey, I went to five years of undergrad school to do that, and it paid a lot more to learn some lessons that I'm never going to use again in my life. Like for a while, I thought it was going to be a French major. So I took a lot of French classes. And I paid a lot of money for those college credits. They don't really use them at all, except for a couple times a year when I meet with my in laws who speak French, which, well, that's helpful, too. But yeah, I'm not making any money off of my French classes. But hey, I paid him a lot of money to learn some lessons. And hey, I'm better off for it. So here's kind of a long winded rant kind of thing. I hope it was helpful. Because I truly feel as musicians, we don't take enough risks. You know, one last piece of lesson that I learned was actually in my college band class, one of my, one of the professors, and probably one of the best conductors I've ever played with, in my life, or at least one of the best ensemble conductors, Dennis clocky, he was an amazing musician, and a very inspiring leader. And it was just such a simple little lesson that he gave to, to people, which we were young, in our college careers and college music careers to a lot of people in the ensemble, we're just timid, still figuring out what is it like to be a collegiate musician. And that was affecting the way that people were playing. They weren't playing loud enough. And so his struggle was to get people to play louder. And one of the things that he said was basically, like, if I hold out my hand, that means you're giving too much. And he did not hold out his hand at all that rehearsal. And so it was just like encouraging people give more of yourself. And you'll know if you're doing too much, like right now, in general, even a lot of my students, they're still afraid to take risks. And that's a go for like, go all out go hard. Because you know, you don't have a lot of time on this earth to do what we're doing. And we're so privileged to do it doing something we love. So why not give ourselves the best odds of success by taking more risks, and some of your ventures will fail. But that's okay. Because the worst case scenario is really not that bad. Best case scenario is you make a living doing what you love, or even better case scenario. So you help others make a living doing what you love. And that's kind of what I realized. When I launched my my gigging act, and started to grow it beyond just a soul like a quartet was I started to give other people opportunities, create jobs for them, help people pay their rent, help people buy their next set of glasses, help feed their kid. To me, that's the best case scenario. So when you become someone who creates opportunities for others. So hopefully, this was helpful. And I encourage you to take another risk, which actually, it's pretty low risk. It'll cost you $0, which is to take your risk and get the gig molt. The gig, while as I mentioned, is a treasure trove of over 26,000 or 24,000, high end venue and event planner contacts that you can take a level of risk and network with, which is low risk, because if you fail, well, you're no worse off than when you started. But if you if your risk take pays off, you get some high paying gigs out of it. And I'll give you the instruction, the exact tools, trainings and templates that you need inside of a free trial of Fulltime Music Academy that you get when you get the gig Walt So to get your copy of the gig ball go to FulltimeMusicAcademy.com/venues And I look forward to helping you take some risks, and market your music through some of these really amazing tools that most musicians are too risk averse to take but I knew that you are not too risk averse. You listening to this podcast, you are one of the musicians who are going to make it and take some risks that will pay off. So go to FulltimeMusicAcademy.com/venues And remember, "Your music won't market itself!".