The Gigging Musician Podcast

The Power Of Focus

May 08, 2021 Jared Judge
The Gigging Musician Podcast
The Power Of Focus
Chapters
The Gigging Musician Podcast
The Power Of Focus
May 08, 2021
Jared Judge

In this episode, Jared shares his struggle with “shiny-object syndrome.” Hear how trying to do too many things nearly crippled his music career, and how he creatively solved that problem.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Jared shares his struggle with “shiny-object syndrome.” Hear how trying to do too many things nearly crippled his music career, and how he creatively solved that problem.

Hey gigging musicians, it's Jared and today I wanted to chat about focus. So let me tell you a little story about when I first started my gigging group back when I was in grad school 2016. And so I was going to grad school for orchestra conducting. And I had to, I'm thinking way back to when I was in the very conceptual stages of this gigging group. I knew that I wanted to play gigs and make money doing it. Because, you know, of course, I was in grad school, and I needed to make some money, but also, I loved playing music so much that I didn't want to get a real job. You know, particularly a part time job while I was in grad school, that would take me away from actually playing music. So when I was first starting, I didn't exactly know what kind of gigging group I was gonna start. I knew that string quartet was a possibility, for sure. And I'm a violinist. So that was the most logical thing to start. But, you know, when I played for a wedding group back, you know, in 2012 or so, I, the group that I played for, they did a variety of different ensembles, they were more of like a brand of musicians. And so you could hire them as a string trio. Actually, it was, it was more of a flute, violin and cello trio that they played most often in. But she also hired out keyboard, she hired out harp, and just a variety of instruments even did some jazz combos from time to time. And I was like, Well, why don't I just model after what they were doing. And so when I started out, I advertised that my group did everything. Literally everything we did brass quintets, I even got a bunch of brass players together, did some recordings, I got some string players together, we did some string quartet recordings, I did flute combo, I even recorded a harp I recorded piano. And then I started to sell gigs for all those different instrument combinations. And so the website, if you ever saw the original website, it was super cluttered, completely unfocused. And the problem that then created I created for myself was that whenever I booked a different kind of gig for a different ensemble, it was basically like I was reinventing the wheel each time, I felt like I had first rodeo syndrome. So, you know, the most common type of gig that we booked was string quartet, which was great, because that was like my bread and butter. And I had music sheet music for that. For those of you who don't play with, with sheet music, I mean, you're definitely familiar with the concept of reading music and how sheet music for one instrument does not work necessarily for other instruments. And so the problem happened was when I was booking groups, looking gigs for the different types of groups that I did not play meant that I had to go and find sheet music for that type of group. And I made the mistake of saying, Yeah, we could play any song that you hear for the string quartet, we could do on the brass quintet. No problem with that caused for me was that each time somebody booked like the brass quintet, I would have to hire an arranger or try to go on sheet music plus calm and find a set of sheet music parts that worked for that instrument. And, you know, with within, like the first couple of gigs for each different type of group, I was just so burnt out and so disorganized, so cluttered, that I was seriously worried that these gigs were not going to go well, because I was just literally chasing too many different things. And so, that was when I made the executive decision of let's cut down the number of things we do, let's focus in on the things that, you know, we're doing most often, which some of you might be familiar with Tim Ferriss, he's an author, he wrote the book, The Four Hour Workweek super inspirational, read, honestly, it's inspired a lot of what I do and a lot of the automation that goes into BookLive Pro, and specifically, the four hour workweek references, what's called the 8020 principle. And I have a good buddy trumpet player, Keaton, he introduced this to me before Tim Ferriss did. But the 8020 principle is like an old economics principle, that it goes back to the time of like, medieval feudalism and cat castles and all that. And it said that 80% of like, I forget exactly how it goes. So you're gonna have to bear with me on this, but 80% of the output of one country or something back in those days, was created by 20% of that population, which the guy who created this, I think it's called parados principle. Prieto. Noticed that This 8020 principle would apply not just to like production of crops, but also, you know, if you think about distribution of wealth, over 80% of the world's wealth is currently in the hands of 20% of the people. And so this also applied to the amount of work and the distribution of work that we do. So bringing it back to music, because I know that was a long winded tangent, I apologize for that. But back for my string quartet, over 80% of the gigs we were doing was done by 20% of the type of music like have over 80% of it was string quartets. And so that was where I said, Let's cut out the 80% of ensembles that are not working for us, and focus on the 20%. That's bringing in the most gigs. Because after all, you know, my goal was to optimize the number of gigs that we were getting each year so that we could play more music. And we could make more money while we're in grad school. So we cut out everything focused in 8020, the whole company, and switch to just strings. And since then, you know, that cleared up a whole slew of problems, the biggest of which was finding different sheet music for all the different groups, then finding players for all those groups, and then being able to market each different type of ensemble because you know, once once you start to make promises to people like hey, yes, I will get you gigs, for this specific thing. People start to expect that of you and they'll lose faith in you if you don't deliver on your promises. So focusing really helped me just eliminate a ton of work and headache for myself. I think it also made me a little bit more of a reliable person because I wasn't making promises that I couldn't keep. And so yeah, I would I would just at this point in your gigging career, whether you don't get it all or you do gig. What is how can you focus what you're doing? What can you 8020? What can you cut out? That is not bringing you results? And how can you focus and double down on the things that are bringing new results? And so at this stage of my gigging career, when, you know, I'm kind of transitioning from being the bandleader all the time, to helping other musicians become better band leaders, you know, I'm thinking how can I focus in on maximizing the results that I get for my other band leaders. And so a lot of that is, you know, I have to spend time focusing on building the app BookLive Pro, that way more musicians can benefit from it. And then I'm also focusing a lot on finding other musicians who I can help. So just going out and serving other musicians, that's been kind of my focus. And so it's it's definitely helped, you know, optimize my impact on the community. And so I would just advise you, how can you do that for your musicianship for your community and for the things that you want to accomplish? So I hope you got some some good tidbits out of that story. And if you like this, make sure to subscribe to the podcast, shoot me a note. Join the gigging musicians Facebook group, we are an active community of hundreds of gigging musicians that were motivating each other. We're providing strategies and advice. People are asking questions, other musicians are answering them. And yeah, I will see you on the next gigging musician podcast.