So...What Is "Artist Development" Anyway?

Friday, April 28, 2017 by Jake Hahn | self development

So what is "Artist Development" anyway? 

I see a lot of people talking about it, and when I begin to dig into most of their information and potential guidance I find that the majority mainly focus on music business strategies - and when it comes to the personal development areas, they focus most of their attention and energy on the technical side of things.

I don't think these people are "wrong" - I just think they're missing some crucial elements by making those 2 areas paramount.

Great expression and artistry most definitely ride on some solid technique. Technique is sort of assumed by listeners. If someone comes out to watch you play guitar or sing some songs - there's an innate belief in them that you have the skills to play and sing those songs.

What I mean here is that technique is a must. That doesn't mean you have to be a "virtuoso" or "prodigy" or "talented", it means that you have to have acquired enough technical prowess to execute for your personal artistic style and level of expression.

Simply put...

If your technique allows you to express yourself fully - then you are good to go.

In my eyes, the music business aspect isn't really "art" at all. The business side is basically numbers, advertising, marketing, meeting people, right place/right time, connections etc (that doesn't mean it's easy by any means). You could argue that there is an art to all of that, and I wouldn't really disagree. It definitely plays a roll in your music career (how much money you can make or fame you acquire).

Again - it's a part of your overarching life as a musician, but it isn't your personal artistry.

To me, Artist Development means finding who you are as a person. Your genuine, authentic, honest, real self - then learning how and what it is that you feel you want to express and communicate to others - as well as WHY you want to.

When you find those things inside yourself, you tap into what I consider to be one of the most valuable feelings. The feeling of being compelled. When you are compelled, you act from a deeply seeded place within you. You are internally driven toward all those other external factors (such as business and technical abilities).

When you discover and hone these things, you begin to realize and believe that you have something truly worth sharing with the world, and most importantly, when you act from this position you are practicing internal validation! You're not creating things to please others - you're creating things to please yourself. When you do this, you'll find that there are others who can RELATE to you and your art.

When other people relate to you, they feel a closeness to you. A sometimes speechless emotional connection. All because you told your truth in a sincere and authentic way with no initial desire or focus on "pleasing the crowd".

This truth brings something real to people. You're not selling them something - you're sharing something with them.

The moment you take this stance, you liberate yourself. You become free to simply be a human being openly sharing the highlights and lowlights of life itself with other human beings who can appreciate it.


Your art is needed by someone. 

You are needed by someone.  

So...all of this begs the question: If you are the artist...wouldn't that mean that "Artist Development" is actually "SelfDevelopment?

I believe it does - and I believe that this shift in mindset and how you perceive yourself is crucial.

So - place your focus on developing yourself...then, use art to share yourself with those who care to listen.

- jake