Professional-MusicianI’m sure that this won’t be a surprise for you, but going pro with your guitar playing is never an easy thing (“pro” as in “making money through guitar playing”). Today, we have Scott to tell us what the possible path for soon-to-be-pro musicians is. Be careful though … it’s going to be a lot of work.

Professional musicians make a living from music, whether playing music or performing at concerts and tours. One thing about them is that they are really good at what they do and they get paid big bucks while at it. So perhaps you are an aspiring musician and wondering what it takes to make it big.

For starters, let’s just state right out of the gate that you must have an interest in music. Not a financial interest, a genuine, gut-deep desire to be in music. Secondly, you must at least have some talent because we are all not cut out to become successful professional musicians.

Once you have these two buttoned down you are ready to ask yourself what you need to study to become a successful professional musician.

Music in General

You need to first study music in general; the theory of music, if you may. Understand the basics of music from learning the names of various instruments to understanding how sheet music is constructed and so on.

Here there’s no need to go deep. The main objective for studying music in general is to have a global view of what music is and understand it in general terms. This will prepare you to go deeper over the next steps of your career.

A Musical Instrument

The next thing you need to study is a musical instrument. To be a professional musician you must be able to make music and having a good grasp of a musical instrument is an important step in the journey.

Depending on your preferences and what music you would like to make, pick an instrument that complements your style.

For instance, don’t master an electric guitar and yet you plan on singing accompanied by acoustic guitar. Learning a musical instrument will also give you credibility as a professional musician, something you will need lots of when you finally start marketing yourself.

At a Conservatory

Once you are confident you have that instrument down, you now need to enroll in a conservatory and really dig in deep into learning music. There are singers, performers and then there are musicians. To become a musician you need to be able to read and write music. And not just lyrics but also learn how to arrange notes.

At the conservatory you will also learn how to present music, how to understand the various moods of music and how to engraft them into your music. Ultimately what the conservatory will really do for you is stretch your creativity and help you get in touch with your inner music. You will also learn how to communicate your passion for music to both your listeners and potential studios.

You must be warned, however, that getting in is contingent on accepting and passing an audition. Here is where your musical prowess with your voice, lyrics, notes and/or instruments will really figure in.

Image and Branding

So let’s assume you passed your audition, got into the conservatory and graduated with flying colors. Is it time to go hunting for a studio or record label? Not quite yet. You have to build a brand behind your music.

You have doubtless settled on the type of music you want to play and so now you have to create an image for that music. Many music fans associate music with icons (Elvis is the King of Rock and Roll). Building a brand is not an easy task though. It takes time and careful thought.

You may hire a brand manager or image consultant but assuming you are a (broke) aspiring musician, you probably cannot afford these. Do a short course in image and brand management and work on creating your image.


You are finally ready to tackle the market with your music. Well, that is if you find a record label that signs you up immediately and gives you a million dollars as down payment for your phenomenally successful yet-to-be-released album. If not, learn some marketing skills, especially digital marketing.

Learn how to market your music online and get a website and digital store set up. Understanding marketing is the linchpin of all your other learning because if you cannot sell a single song, all your other training is to no avail. While none of these will guarantee you success, preparation is half the journey to success.

Scott Ryan thought he could sing, but now he just writes and buys music instead from Morris Brothers Music, a store that specializes in all things music.