The life of a musician can be solitary. If you're in a band, you can collaborate with band members, you're on the road with them, but when it comes to the end of the day, it's you. Seth Godin's Self Directed Effort is the Best Kind, got me thinking about the musicians that have a career and those who don't.
Seth asks if you need a boss, trainer, etc to stand over you to make you go the extra mile. Do you need incentives to reach your goals? Can you attain your goals by yourself? Are you motivated and regimented enough?
Effort's ephemeral, hard to measure and incredibly difficult to deliver on a regular basis. So we hire a trainer or a coach or a boss and give up our freedom and our upside for someone to whip us into shape. Obviously, you give up part of what you create to the trainer/coach/boss in exchange for their oversight.
Do we need the taskmaster?
I've been a freelancer for quite a few years now and sometimes it would be nice to have a taskmaster telling me what to do. It is easy to look at the check list and keep moving items around that you don't necessarily want to deal with. But what about the satisfaction of crossing those items/tasks off your list? Doing it yourself. That's a great feeling.
Do musicians have lists? Being a musician these days means more than just making music. Each day a musician needs to send out emails, update twitter/blog, make a new video, write a song, prepare for a tour, get to the next venue, etc. I could argue that this is where a manager comes into play, but the manager can't force a musician to do something. She/he can suggest things and point out what will help a career and propose great deals, but ultimately it's up to the musician to make it happen for herself.
The successful musician does not give in to leaving it up to others or the taskmaster to make it happen. Where is the satisfaction in that? If the musician believes in what she is doing, then she must ultimately be the one to carry out her plan/ideals. She is the one who has to go the extra mile, not because someone is monitoring her, but because she believes.