Why Are Most Canadian Musicians Struggling Financially

Many Canadian musicians are struggling to make ends meet and become successful today.  In fact, even successful bands and artists happen to struggle financially. There are different reasons for this, from the fact that they are usually self-employed and depend on seasonal income, concerts, and events to the recent global financial crisis.

Musicians and Common Mistakes They Make

Musicians also have kids to look after, mortgage to repay, and bills to pay on a monthly basis.  Irregular income means less financial security. On top of that, musicians have expenses such as travel costs, studio time, music equipment, etc. Another reason why Canadian musicians are struggling to earn a living is that many are not willing to approach their career as a full-time job and business. They juggle between their music career and ordinary job which actually leaves little time for their music career. And while their ordinary job is secure, it is often less well paid because they have other ambitions and strengths. What is more, when they focus on their music career, this is a chance to add value to and impress music company officials and other key players, other bands, and fans, of course. The unfortunate truth is that many musicians lack basic skills to turn their talent into a profitable venture and make money out of it in a business-like manner. They also find it difficult to identify their audience and target market and often fail to develop a database of interested parties such as bands, recording studios, other musicians, business partners, and fans or customers.

There are other mistakes that musicians make that cost them dearly. Some musicians, for example, rely too much on the music company they’ve signed a contact with. It is important to take initiative and try different ways and approaches to promote oneself. Look for business partners as well as a way to increase your income by having multiple sources of income and not just your music company. This will give you more opportunities to record music, perform, tour, and write music. Plus, the fact that you have more than one business partner means that you are not dependent on a single source of income. And it is also important to have a good booking agent who will plan tours and negotiate on your behalf.

Music marketing is important, but there is more. The sad truth is that sometimes musicians are not at the level they believe they are. Some musicians are more talented than others.

Music Careers for Artists Who Are Struggling Financially

There are plenty of opportunities to make money as a musician even if you prefer to have a regular job. The same holds if you are an average musician. A music career is also a good option for artists who are struggling financially. For example, you can work as a record producer, give instruction to hobby artists, create music, join a music band, and plenty more. The list of music careers is quite long. You can work as a recording engineer, DJ, talent acquisition representative, or concert promoter. The list of music careers also includes tour publicist and tour coordinator, composer, stage manager, production music writer, and so on. As you can see, there are hundreds of opportunities to make money, depending on your talents and strengths and weaknesses. Whether you become a music journalist or editor, instrument teacher or college teacher, this is an opportunity to earn a living and put your talent into good use.

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Band and Band Music in Canada

Band music in Canada helps promote cultural and music values and heritage, and there are community, military, university, and school bands that help develop musical values and tastes.

Community Bands

Community bands are usually locally based and focus on specific genres or perform across diverse genres. The repertoire often includes Canadian composers and performers. Some bands also perform together with professional singers and soloists as well as other community orchestras, ensembles, and performers. The focus is on enjoyment and relaxed environment for the band and audience.

There are hundreds of community bands in Canada – the Sackville Citizens’ Band, Port City Second Chance, Valley Community Concert, Halifax Concert, L’Union Musicale De Shawinigan, and many others.

School Ensembles

School bands mainly play music by Canadian performers. They are amateur ensembles made of student musicians and performers. They use a range of musical instruments such as bass guitars, string basses, percussion and brass instruments, as well as woodwind instruments (reed instruments and flutes). There are different types of school bands such as, for example, modern, jazz, and marching bands and chamber ensembles. School ensembles can be divided into high school and middle high school bands as well.

Regimental and Military Bands

Examples of military bands in Canada include the Royal Winipeg Rifles, Windsor Regiment Band, The Brockville Rifles, and the The C & E Garrison Military Band, among others. Some orchestras and ensembles perform for Governors General, Prime Ministers, Heads of State, and Royalty. Military bands also participate in concerts and perform for local communities. They have diverse repertoires, from jazz to marches and classical music. Other ensembles also perform rock music, polka, smooth jazz, and big band music. Military bands perform across a diverse range of genres, including popular music and more traditional marches and participate in different events such as ceremonial occasions, celebrations, military tattoos and street parades, charity benefits, and public concerts, among others. Some military and regimental bands even have recordings and albums to reach wider audiences. They also participate in initiatives, events, and activities organized by the Canadian government and the provincial, territorial, and local authorities. Such initiatives, for example, are the National Aboriginal History Month and the Innovation Superclusters Initiative. In addition to military functions and parades, bands participate in shows and diverse public performances, including special events across the border (TRADOC Military Tattoo in Virginia and the Fort Ticonderoga Tattoo, for example).

Military ensembles often include a string ensemble, a choir, and brass and reed instruments.

College Bands in Canada

There are college marching bands in Canada, prominent examples being the Western Mustang, Simon Fraser University Pipe, Queen’s Bands, and Lady Godiva Memorial, among others. The Western Mustang Band is a college student marching ensemble which comprises woodwind, percussion, and brass instruments and plays music at the TD Waterhouse Stadium for each game of the Western Mustangs. The ensemble also performs at a variety of events such as social and orientation week events, Santa Claus parades, and others. Examples are the London Pride and London Santa Clouse Parades and the University of Western Ontario Homecoming. The repertoire includes a variety of genres and instruments such as baritone, trombone, F horn, tenor and alto saxophone, clarinet, marching bells, and bass and snare drum. The Queen’s Bands are comprised of six separate units and namely, cheerleaders, a color guard, highland dancers, a brass band, drum corps, and pipe band. This is Canada’s oldest and largest college band with some 120 student members. They have distinct uniforms that consist of Queen’s tams, sweaters in three colors, and white duck trousers complete with details such as glengarries, full and half plaids, tunics, kilts, and spats and hoses.

The Simon Fraser University Pipe Band has won a number of international competitions and produced recordings and albums such as Alive In America, Live at Carnegie Hall, At The Worlds, and many others.