If you’ve just wrapped up a two-month tour with your band, taking a long break from music might sound like a good idea, but it could end up hurting your music career. Other than the lucky few musicians who’ve found ways to sustain themselves purely through music, the rest of us have to engage in a delicate balancing act that often pits our musical ambitions against the very real and pressing needs of everyday life, including careers and relationships. Taking a week or two off of music after a long tour is essential, but take too much time and you might never get back to seriously making music. Here’s why:
It kills your routine
If you’re a typical musician in the fact that you’ve got obligations in the form of a non-musical career and relationships to think about, then building and maintaining a routine for your work in music is absolutely crucial. And for everyone who has ever tried to stick to non-essential work or relationship routines knows, falling out of habits is incredibly easy to do, even if they’re incredibly important.
It’s good to avoid taking long breaks from music because for most people, routines are fragile. Taking a week off here and there is mandatory, but if you can, set a reminder in your phone for a date and time when it’s time to get back to get back to making music.
Too much time off puts you at risk of losing focus
Just like an athlete training for a competition, musicians and songwriters are better at what they do when they’re focused and engaged in their craft. Taking too much time off of music weakens the musical muscles needed to write music, maintain chops and keep a project afloat. If you want to keep focusing on your musical goals, it’s important that you don’t take too much time off between tours and releases.
With so much new music coming out, your fans may forget about you
Between an increase in the world’s music-making population and today’s single-driven culture, more people are making more music than ever before. This means that if you’ve managed to build some momentum around your music, you’ll risk losing it if you take too much time off between releases. In 2018, the music industry functions in a completely different way than it did even five years ago, and unless you’ve got a massive and loyal following, you’ll need to make writing and releasing music consistently a top priority if you want to sustain a thriving music career. In order to preserve your finances, relationships, and sanity, you’ll need to shift your focus off of your music from time to time, but if you wait too long to release music, you’ll risk losing the interest of your fans and any momentum you’ve worked so hard to build. So the next time you plan on taking time off your music, make sure you solidify and stick to concrete plans to get back to work.
Patrick McGuire is a musician, writer, and educator currently residing in the great city of Philadelphia. He creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.