Stop, Don’t Play Another Note!

Just kidding – I know as a musician it’s sometimes hard to put down our instruments, as we love playing so much.  But sometimes stepping away from what we are doing musically can be a healthy thing.  Now I’m not suggesting taking a holiday for two weeks and going down to an exotic island (although this sounds like fun) and neither am I suggesting not practicing or playing your instrument or writing any more music until you are 65.  I merely mean that it’s helpful to take a break from whatever you are doing musically and to do some reflecting on what it is you are working on and also to try to be objective of how your music sounds.  It’s so easy as musicians and people, to get caught up in “doing”.  When we are doing things, like practicing 3 hours a day or writing music all day we feel like we are being “productive” and “getting somewhere”.  The truth is that, yes you have to spend time on your craft but to really “get somewhere” takes more than being a horse in a horse race with blinders on. It really takes a great sense of awareness and sensitivity.  Having a career as a professional musician is one of the most challenging pursuits.  You are fusing many aspects of yourself into one profession:

1) Your theoretical knowledge about music.
2) Your historical understanding of music and how your music or playing fits in.
3) Technical skills- being able to work your gear efficiently.
4) Cultural awareness of what people like and how they “connect with music.”
5) People skills and being able to “connect” with both your audience and other industry professionals.

So as you can see, a lot goes into becoming a successful music professional and this can sometimes be overwhelming.  My suggestion is to start with small steps and have a vision in mind and set realistic goals.  You are a virtual “mini-company” and you need to constantly keep checking in and maintaining your perspective on how things are going.  So this takes a lot of patience and clarity.  If you are always consumed by trying to be successful and “doing”, you might miss out on the bigger picture and in turn miss out on the day-to-day enjoyment of being a creative individual.  Sometimes you will get what you want and sometimes you won’t, but usually both happen for a reason and the sooner you learn to “go with the flow” the easier the journey will become.  If you made it through today and were able to make some progress towards your dreams, consider that a success in the grander scheme of things… Now go back to playing that song you love.