Updated: Aug 30, 2019
Hello. My name is Alex, and I am a freelance musician.
See that happy guy with the guitar? That's me.
Except until recently, that wasn't what I usually looked like. I was tired, cranky, and probably rude. There may have been a few factors that played into this, but the primary one was that I hated my job.
In 2011 I graduated high school and started studying music education. Fast-forward to 2017...at which time I had graduated college, earned my certification, and landed a job as a high school orchestra director. Nice!
Except...I hated it. That thing I had spent six years and tens of thousands of dollars working towards? I didn't want it anymore.
Musicians, really all creative types, are highly susceptible to a thought process that goes something like this: "I'm good at music, I want a career in music, but I need a traditional career path. So...I'll teach music!" Or insert whatever misguided job you land on.
To clarify, I'm not saying don't be a music teacher. If you love teaching, teach. Teaching is incredible work, but teaching is not creating. Teaching is teaching.
I started to face this reality last school year. I asked myself some tough questions, and I contemplated a lot of possible outcomes. Maybe I needed a new job. Maybe I needed a new field. Maybe I needed to stay put and "think positive." I explored all of these options and even went on a few job interviews. My lack of enthusiasm must have been apparent, because I did not get any second interviews.
After bouncing back from some serious self-doubt...I entered the summer with a new conclusion. Maybe I was no good at being an employee. At the very least, I didn't seem to enjoy it. The more I thought about it, the more it resonated. I wanted to be independent. I wanted to create.
Fast-forward again to August 2019, just a couple weeks ago. I quit my job. I quit hunting for new jobs. I signed up for music and audio recording classes at Finger Lakes Community College, which I will begin this week, as a low-cost way to develop some new skills. As far as income goes...I will be playing gigs, teaching private lessons (which I still enjoy), recording other artists (soon), and taking the occasional substitute teaching job.
And just like that, the happy guy from the picture started coming around again!
That concludes part one (intro). Now on to part two...why I'm writing this.
This blog marks the unofficial beginning of my new phase of being a freelancer, and I want to do everything I can to hold myself accountable. I'm hoping that by doing that, someone else might glean some value from my experience (and/or lack thereof). I want to document my successes, but more importantly, my failures. Everything from music, to business, to my ability to budget my personal finances.
I'm on a "don't care what anyone thinks of me" kick right now, and I'm going to do my best to capitalize on that.
Talk to you soon. :)