Are you a musician who’s struggling to keep at it? It’s pretty common. Music, especially if it’s a hobby, will often take the backseat compared to all of the other problems in your life: bills, family, work, and more.
But you don’t have to completely pack it up and let your passion go! Here are some ideas and quick tricks you can use to get back into the groove.
Making music isn’t a race, so you don’t have to force yourself to spit out tracks if you’re not feeling it. The process of making music can be lengthy and difficult, and looking at everything like a massive mountain can sap motivation quickly.
But for most musicians-on-the-side, they don’t have to meet a deadline. So free yourself from the pressures of time, and work at your own pace. However, this might not work for some folks. They feel like they’re slipping if they don’t make consistent progress.
If this applies to you, try setting small goals for yourself instead. Let’s say you’ve got chords and a melody already, but no lyrics. For today, don’t think about writing all of the lyrics at once. Just go for 1 or 2 verses. Consistent progress is better than nothing, and getting small tasks done will add up in the end.
Few people can sit down and start cranking out tracks, and fewer still can do that with faulty equipment. One thing that can deplete your motivation is wrestling with audio issues while recording, so don’t forget to check your gear before you start working!
Check your trusty sound card before beginning, since it’s a crucial part of your music setup. You might find that it’s decided to die overnight! If you need an upgrade but are having some trouble choosing the most suitable sound card for your setup, we’ve got some ideas.
If your sound card is fine, check your mics and accessories like pop filters and clips for any signs of wear. Music may be just a hobby, but your tools still need to be maintained and replaced if they break!
Earlier we mentioned that it’s common to feel too drained to make music after juggling all of those responsibilities. But you’ll need to make time at some point for your music. Instead of flopping down at your desk every time you’re free, set specific time aside for it. Maybe you know that you finish earlier on Wednesdays, or your Saturdays are usually free.
Find a slot for your music, and block it off regularly to write or fiddle around with chords. Set a regular alarm on your phone for music making time, and stick to it. This consistency will stop you from feeling like you’re not making progress, and give you a little time for your music.
If you’re really short on time throughout the week, you don’t have to block off a whole morning or day. Set a timer for 20 minutes or 1 hour, and just get going.
We all know that money is a powerful motivator. But musicians who need to keep making music to earn a living may experience burn out faster than those who don’t. If you’re a musician by trade, consider shifting into making music as a side hobby. It may hurt at first to sideline your passion, but don’t think of it that way!
As it is, music is a passion first and a possible source of income second. If you’re trying to make it big but it’s not working, it’s time to take a step back and remember why you’re making music. Don’t chase the sounds and words that will make you the most money. Make music for you.
While being rewarded for your tracks is great, making it the primary motivator is a surefire way to crash and burn. Keep your enthusiasm up for music by writing what you want.
Speaking of writing what you want, it’s okay to move away from your old inspirations. Everyone will take inspiration and influence from somewhere, but you’ll eventually have to grow as a musician. Part of this growth is listening to new artists and taking inspiration from what they’re doing.
Musicians with a large fanbase may worry about their new sound turning off old fans. This is a valid concern, but you shouldn’t let yourself be held back by spinning around the same old genres. You can always come back to your old sounds and put a fresh new spin on them. Moving away from your original inspirations will let you return with a new perspective.
Speaking of fans, it’s natural to feel pressured as a musician. This pressure could be external like old listeners, or it could be internal, coming from your own expectations for yourself. Heck, you might get pressured just seeing other artists succeed and produce great tracks.
Take a second and clear your head. Don’t let these different things get to you so easily, because the constant comparisons and expectations will wear you down. Step back and try to think of what “success” will look like to you, instead of wishing you were a different musician. Keep your motivation up by focusing solely on what you’re doing to improve!
There may be some weeks when you’ll need to pull an all-nighter. You might be running on fumes and putting the final touches on your magnum opus. But on normal nights, don’t neglect your sleep!
Not sleeping to finish another song isn’t exactly something to be proud of since you’ll end up hurting yourself in the long run. You can’t keep making music if you’re too tired to keep your eyes open.
It’s okay to push yourself a little every now and again, but don’t make a habit out of missing sleep to finish your songs. Take care of yourself before focusing on your music.
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