How to Become a Musician

Photo of a Professional Musician

Diane Birch has been a professional singer and songwriter for the past seven years. She studied piano in Sydney, Australia, and Portland, Oregon, and developed the ability to play by ear. As a young adult, Diane moved to Los Angeles with the dream of becoming a film composer. While working as a pianist in L.A., she took a singing class, where she discovered her songwriting talent. Before long, Diane signed a recording contract with S Curve Records and moved to New York City. She has found monumental success with her debut album, "Bible Belt," and its follow-up, "The Velveteen Age."

How did you decide to become a professional musician?

Quite simply, I kept following my instinct to do what I loved the most.

Are there common misconceptions about your profession?

Yes, people often think that success is about luck. However, success is about a lot of hard work and perseverance.

What is a typical day like for you?

At the moment, I wake up, check emails and leave the house. I stop for coffee and then head to studio, where I work for about 8 to 10 hours. Then I come home and crash into bed.

What are your favorite aspects of your job?

My favorite aspect of my job is being able to share my emotions with the world. It is amazing to be heard and make a difference in people’s lives. I also love creating and performing, as well as traveling.

What are your least favorite aspects of your job?

My least favorite aspects of my job are the lack of sleep, having to be “on” 24 hours a day, and often being criticized by the media.

Is there anything you would have done differently while pursuing music as a profession?

If I could do it over again, I would have listened more to my instincts at times. I could have wasted a lot less time.

What classes did you take in college that are the most relevant to your job?

My most relevant college experiences were actually outside the classroom. The relationships that I developed with people were the most valuable part of the experience.

What personality traits do you think would help someone to be successful as a professional musician?

Discipline and confidence are crucial in order to be successful as a professional musician.

What personality traits do you think might hinder someone's success as a professional musician?

Laziness and pride are both traits that could hinder someone’s success as a musician.

What advice, or words of caution, would you give to a student who is considering studying to become a professional musician?

If you are considering studying to become a professional musician, make sure your vision is strong and make sure that the people you work with are trustworthy. Don't give up when you think you have failed. Keep fighting back, and never stop believing in yourself.

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