Book Review: 25 Notes for the Successful Musician

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• December 3, 2009

bookChad Jeffers is a successful in-demand road musician; he currently tours as Carrie Underwood’s steel guitar player and previously toured with Keith Urban, playing a variety of instruments. He was also a member of the group Pinmonkey, which had several singles released by RCA.

Jeffers’ new book, 25 Notes for the Successful Musician: The Ultimate Guide to Making It in the Music Industry is aimed at aspiring musicians. First, he wants to bring a dose of reality to those who believe playing music for a living is all glitz and glamour, by stressing the importance of professionalism.

What sets Jeffers’ book apart is that he stresses the networking aspects of being a musician. A musician certainly has to be able to perform at a professional level in the industry but, after that, it’s personality and networking that determines who gets the gigs. He also stresses that practice and preparedness are essential—something many young musicians overlook. It’s more than just getting your guitar tuned, it’s getting yourself in tune with who’s going to hire you and the audience you’re playing for.

In his “notes” on “Work Hard and Be Nice” and “It’s All About Sales. Are You a Salesman?” Jeffers confronts the issue of whether its “music” or “business” (he’s also got a chapter by that title). The answer, of course, is that it is a mixture of both and those who ignore one side in favor of the other are doomed to come up short when they chase their dreams.

Finally, Jeffers ends his book with some practical advice with “Save (and Invest) Your Money” and “Taxes.” He is right on about these important topics. Too many musicians proclaim that they love the music and hate the business, but those who want a long-term career that ends with some dignity need to keep an eye on the business side, whether they “love” it or not.

Copies of 25 Notes are available for $19.99.

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About the Author

Don Cusic is Professor of Music Business at Belmont University. He has authored 18 books, including his most recent “Discovering Country Music.”

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