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Starting out in a new hobby or occupation is exciting, but you can also feel woefully underprepared for the task. No matter how great your thirst for knowledge or how much natural talent you have for the job, there will come a point where you ask yourself if there is some piece of gear missing that is holding you back from becoming the hot new thing in your industry. This is true for filmmakers, musicians, entrepreneurs, and more. So if you’re a young Christian musician, you may be thinking that your current instrument isn’t good enough or that you need some new software or accessory in order to be able to compete with all of the other artists out there.
If we are not careful, we can be in danger of falling into the trap of comparison. Looking at successful artists like TobyMac and Jeremy Camp, we might think “I could be just like them if only I had (fill in the blank).” While you may actually need a certain piece of gear, you could also be trying to justify why you’re not working harder or you may even be giving yourself a reason why failure is an option. Before you decide to throw down a bunch of money on equipment, think through some of these questions below and think about your actions.
What Kind of Music Will You Be Playing?
If you have given any thought to being a Christian musician, surely you’ve come to some sort of conclusion about what kind of musician you will be. What kind of music do you want to play? Is it something that will be greatly helped by the purchase of this piece of equipment? For an acoustic guitar player who mostly works in coffee shops and open-mic nights, there is a certain set of needed gear that will not be the same for a drummer or a piano player, right? Are you playing in a rock band? How does the gear you want to buy play into that band’s sound? It doesn’t matter if you play saxophone, electric guitar, or something else. Think about what kind of sound you are going for and compare that with how the equipment you’re yearning for is going to fit into that sound.
How Experienced of a Christian Musician Are You?
As we mentioned before, there can be the potential for a destructive force of envy when it comes to amatuers viewing the work of famous artists. For example, if you wanted to be a filmmaker, you may think that your lacking a $10,000 camera is the only obstacle between you and millions of dollars. One of the problems with that kind of thinking is that you may be so inexperienced that you wouldn’t know what to do with that camera if you were to buy one. How much experience do you have as a Christian musician? Have you been doing this long enough to know the precise gear you need to achieve your sound? Before you spend hundreds or thousands of dollars, think through what you need and make sure you have a pretty good idea of what you will do with it.
How Do You Believe This Gear Will Make You a Better Young Christian Musician?
We’ve all become starry eyed when viewing a cool new piece of technology or some other groundbreaking innovation. Upon first sight, all you can think is “I want one of those.” This is just as true for a young Christian musician as it is for anyone else. You have to remember, though, that amassing a large amount of gizmos and equipment isn’t going to magically make you better. There has to be a process. Have you ever gone to the grocery store when you are hungry and the only planning you’ve done is to remember that the pantry is empty? You end up buying nothing but snack foods that don’t translate to actual meals. If you go into the store with a list, however, you can knock it all out and walk away with the right ingredients for great meals. A young Christian musician is also like a chef looking for the right ingredients. Are you actually in need of a new monitor, a different guitar, or a new set of pedals? Great, then let’s think about the sound you’re going for and find what piece of equipment is going to help you accomplish your goals.
Is There Anywhere Else You Can Find the Gear?
We don’t know about you, but we have a real problem with walking into a bookstore and buying six new books that sound interesting. Instead of blowing $75+ on books that may or may not be read, we could have just as easily gone to our local library and checked out some of the same books for free. Do you really need to purchase that new gear, or is there some way for you to find something similar for a cheaper price? If you’re a young Christian musician attending a decent-sized church, there might be other musicians there who can hook you up. Better yet, the music ministry of that church may be able to give you an outlet to perform or study your instrument. One of the benefits of being a young Christian musician in a big church is that you have all kinds of connections that can help you grow as an artist.
Aside from looking within the church, you can also check out places online or around town for used music equipment. While there are certain things you might want to buy brand new, there’s plenty of good used stuff out there. You don’t always have to pay top dollar.
Is Buying Gear the Best Use of Your Money?
Assuming you’re a young Christian musician, there might be better uses for your money than catching up with the latest gear. Maybe you’re saving up for your first car or thinking about college or perhaps you’re out of school and looking for a place to live. There are a lot of expenses that can pile up as a young person. That’s why it is important to be able to differentiate between gear that you need and stuff that you’d like to have one day. It may not seem like it right now, but even today’s most advanced equipment will be outdated eventually. Don’t purchase beyond your means just because you want to keep up with the Joneses. We’re not saying you can’t or shouldn’t buy a piece of gear that you really need, only that you need to be smart about your finances.
Are You Buying This Gear For Another Reason?
That last point takes us to our final question. Is there another reason why you’re focusing on all of this gear? Sure, you might need an amp, a new stand, or a soundboard, but is that the only thing holding you back right now? Never forget that a young Christian musician who is diligent in his studies and disciplined in his practice is more capable than a lazy person with all the toys and gadgets. At the end of the day, you actually have to make music. A closet full of expensive gear isn’t going to do anything if you don’t know how to apply it to your music. Instead of trying to buy your way into musical stardom, take stock of what you have and what you truly need. Again, there’s nothing wrong with buying new gear. Just remember that those things won’t complete you as a person.
At Camp Electric, we want to help you become the best Christian musician you can be. We bring together some of the biggest names in Christian music to help students progress through workshops, classroom experiences, and collaboration. Find out how you can be our next student by clicking on the link below.