Have you ever noticed that there are some extremely talented people around you that for some reason aren’t successful?  People who should be doing well in life but for some reason don’t?  This is especially true in the arts, and especially with musicians.  Art has through the ages been propagated by the suffering artist image. Often times the artist never realizes their greatness and are only recognized for their talent after their passing.  There are many factors in the life of each artist that contributes to their suffering.  These include socioeconomic, health, political and circumstances relevant to their day and age. The stuff we study about in music history and music appreciation classes. Luckily, we are now living in a period of untold freedoms and privilege, but not a time without its struggles.

One may argue that the golden age of art has passed, no longer are the gallery, opera, ballet and orchestra a cornerstone of society, replaced by cinema, radio, internet and TV, instant entertainment. However, at no other time has there been more resources available to the artist, both for research, material and communications.   It can be argued that the true artist will always suffer for their art, and this is what gives them the insight to create works of greatness. For the rest, the business of art should not be overlooked, and needs to be understood so as to create an environment of success for the artist.  This is ever so important for the aspects of teaching!

How can a teacher who is passionate about their art, committed to teaching, reach their students needs if they are desperate and having difficulties financially and personally.  Teaching music is an especially difficult job compared to regular 9 to 5 work.  First, the hours of a teacher are odd, not conforming easily to the needs of family.  Often, the most desired time to spend with one’s family is also the capital time required for teaching.  Students will look for the most opportune time that fits into their weekly schedules.  Also times for leisure are also the best time for teaching.  This includes weekends day and night, weekday evenings and especially after school.  A teacher with a full schedule of students is usually one who has very little social life!  Likewise, it makes planning family events more difficult, a trip to the movies, an outing or even planning a meal together is usually offset by their teaching duties.  Even with this all said, it does not include personal practice or study time.  So it is ever more important for a music teacher to establish themselves with a strong business model, clear goals and realistic time management expectations and still have room to meet life’s challenges and opportunities and family needs.  I’ve often been surprised by my teachers in the past who seemed to be unable to manage certain simplicities in life that I had taken for granted.  Such as taking in a show, catching a sale or concert or attending a social event, or finding time to eat supper.  I now understand and appreciate these challenges much more clearly now.  Every employer and corporate HR councilor speaks of maintaining a balance between work and home.  With music, these lines are often blurred, but there still must be a balance that is clear to family and friends, as well as to the students.

Students of the arts also face similar problems. The demands of studying are contrasted with the requirements of earning a living and their career. When time demands are high for both career and financial advancement and practicing your music, ultimately the effort is usually spent for survival.

With all the time and social demands on a teacher, the pressures of the current economy and challenges with competition in today’s fast paced markets, in order to not only survive but to be able to get ahead financially and in your craft, it is ever more important to have clear vision and a model for your business.  After all, in times of financial crises, and fiscal cliffs, we need the arts more than ever!


Submitted here are a couple of interesting videos, I would make the exception of using the wording of successful for wealthy, although I’d never complain about having my share of wealth! The arts, after all, don’t make you rich, but instead enrich you. Everything else that comes with it is a bonus!

17 ways Rich People and Poor People Think Differently

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