The Path to Confidence
What is the secret, that helped legends reach their successes? In many ways, it can be expressed through a mindset.
Although there is no simple answer to this question it’s interesting that common themes run between legendary musicians from the past century. Therein we can uncover a universal piece of wisdom.
It’s common to be asked ‘how do I take my music to the next level?‘ Especially in an industry that’s seemingly super inflated with talent? Many of the most successful have answered this question through stories of their own.
The truth is that the music industry has largely been the same for the past 500 years. You have the listeners, performers, writers, publishers, students, mentors, stars, patrons (and failures). Here’s one analogy from one of the fathers of the classical era.
Joseph Haydn was struggling to take his career to the legendary heights he desired in his youth. He showed great talent but felt trapped by his situation. His 18th-century patronage acted much in the same way as major labels did in the so-called ‘Golden Age’ of the record business. These powerful ‘dynasties’ owned the majority of their music rights and controlled the directions of their acts careers.
Haydn wasn’t interested in working for the Man, and in 1779 he went to Vienna in search of friends in high places.
One such college, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, helped him negotiate a new deal with his patron to gain part ownership over all his new compositions. This enabled him to use publishers to sell the copywrite of performances of his music to concert halls across Europe.
This was a risky venture and something relatively unheard of by musicians during his time. But it worked! Soon his reputation skyrocketed as a compositional rockstar. He abandoned his patronage and took over Britain from Bach as the classical world’s next top icon.
Haydn wanted more than just a career of fame. After all, he could have just stayed living on the wage of his patron. So what inspired him to make a change, what was the key to his successful mindset? Was it Mozart, or that inner voice? If only we could ask him.
“I was cut off from the world. There was no one to confuse or torment me, and I was forced to become original. ” ― Joseph Haydn
What is clear is that he had a desire to make a difference. To change himself and people’s perception of music. The legacy of the Father of Classical Music continues, 200 years later, with +8 million Spotify plays to date! Pretty good considering that six feet of earth makes us all equals.
So what’s the secret then?
It’s all about your own unique aspiration and finding your core values as an artist.
Is it to get a record deal, is it to play at Glastonbury, is it to be famous, is it to cash out and live in Beverly Hills? These could all be reasonable or they could just be shallow level thinking.
Maybe you’re striving to be the best ‘you’? You might have something you need to share with the world, because you are trying to look at things differently. Do you have a burning desire to show something only you can see and hear happening around you? Do you aspire to make a difference? Are you trying to enrich music culture or just be the same as the everyman? If you think you have a vision, is it clear? Maybe you are none of these and that’s fine. You have to ask yourself regularly:
“Is my current intention aligned towards my one true desire?”
This certainly isn’t something to answer overnight, and that’s not the point. It’s the questioning that serves to keep us on the right path. Most fall into the trap of following somebody else path, because it is easier to follow the path of least resistance than to lead with your own decision to do things differently and own the consequences.
“Nothing pleases me more than to go into a room and come out with a piece of music.” – Paul McCartney
The sad thing is that so many people convince themselves they know their own aspiration. But more often than not it’s a direction from someone else and is a natural consequence of their own jealousy or fear of other opinions, or even worse of failure. Fundamentally we’re in the Wild West, and if your intention is wrong then you are likely heading towards chaos and not the good creative sort…
During Haydn’s later fame, he encountered a brilliant young composer named Beethoven who quickly became his student. Haydn now took it as a duty to mentor and develop this newfound era of musician. There had been countless figures in young Beethoven’s life before Haydn but none with the confidence needed to help him rise to his legendary fame.
“I would rather write 10,000 notes than a single letter of the alphabet.” ― Ludwig van Beethoven
And so the student became the teacher. Just as Haydn found Mozart – Beethoven found his coach.
Coaching goes way beyond the surface level. It helps you to be aware of your inner self! Understanding your passion and individuality is key to any success in the Music Industry. Once you have the right drive you can work out any plan to achieve it. Don’t sweat it, plans change, but you’ve got to work through it yourself via trial and error to then get to success.
“Fail young, fail often, fail forward” – Will Smith