Staying motivated as a musician is a hot topic. People will sometimes say that you’ll never work a day if you love what you do.
Those people probably aren’t musicians though. The truth is, even if you absolutely love music and being a musician, life isn’t always easy. Of course, when you are on tour and feeling yourself on stage the To-Do-List at home feels like a world away.
However, if you want to succeed in the music industry, the workload is not easy. Staying motivated as a musician in order to get it all done is a job within itself.
I come across this problem all the time in my work. Last week I held a webinar for musicians about release planning and the streaming economy. After three hours of input that was geared towards enabling the musicians to take planning and success into their own hands, we had a discussion starting on how terrible the whole industry is.
You could literally see everyone’s face drop and the energy was in danger of dropping. I feel like mentioning this moment because it is really common for folks to see everything in black and white.
Sometimes I joke that you either talk about how bad the weather is or bad the music industry is.
Keeping your mindset clean can help to stay motivated as a musician
Keeping your motivation up with such a mindset is very difficult, to say at least. Hear me out, I’m the first one to admit that the music industry in its present state has many severe problems. Also, I personally don’t think that capitalism is a fair economic system in which everyone has a chance to accumulate wealth in the same way.
Having said that, I also know that the modern music industry offers more options for musicians to get fans to listen to their music than ever before. Even just 20 years ago, being on the DIY Route was extremely difficult. Record label bosses were gatekeeping their signings like it was the holy grail.
Now, you can distribute your music into streaming services on your own and market your music directly to the consumer. What is more, social media platforms have enabled musicians to talk directly to their fans.
The list could go on. Why am I raving about this?
Being able to see oneself work in perspective is the first step towards keeping inspiration up.
Here are some more tips on how to stay motivated as a musician.
How to stay motivated as a musician
#1 Find accountability buddies
The music industry certainly can be a very competitive place. At the same time, it connects people that share a love for music. Finding an accountability buddy can be a great way to stay motivated as a musician.
Circling back to the example of the webinar. The first thing I told the attendees was to connect in the chat and to meet up. Not only can you find great musicians to actually play music with you.
Equally important, you could find yourself an accountability buddy.
Choose a friend who wants to achieve a similar goal and make a plan.NY Times
That means, connecting with another musician who wants to achieve the same object and making a plan on how to reach it.
You could even share resources like a practice room or an expensive microphone.
#2 Make a detailed plan for the next three years
This might sound crazy, but make a detailed plan for the next three years. What are you planning to release? When will you be on tour? The great unknown is a big factor in backing down from something. Instead, having a detailed plan will give you structure and security.
What is more, it is not uncommon for an album release to take up to around two years from recording the music to actually touring the material. Factor in a year for writing and recording new music after the tour has finished and the three-year plan will look rather like a short-term plan.
#3 What would be the alternative?
When trying to stay motivated as a musician ask yourself the question: ‘What would be the alternative to being a musician?’
Would you be happy in a normal job? Would you be happy with a structured 9-5 work schedule?
Can you see yourself working in an open-plan office with countless other employees?
Here’s the kicker: having the ability to play music is awesome!
Being a musician is literally the best job in the whole music industry. Everyone on the industry side works towards bringing music to fans.
Getting this reality check in frequently can help you to stay motivated as a musician.
Give yourself grace if staying motivated isn’t easy
All things considered, being a musician can come with an overwhelming workload. What is more, many tasks differ and you need to cover a wide array of jobs.
Writing music and practising your instrument or voice is only the first step.
I know the feeling: the work never seems to end and you see no direct impact on what you are doing.
Although this may be true, it is also very important to give yourself some grace! Rome wasn’t built in a day and so isn’t any music career.
Being kind to yourself will help you stay motivated longer because you are not wasting energy on beating yourself up.
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.Earl Nightingale