5 Ways To Get Back Into Making Music

Creating music is something that’s hugely rewarding and cathartic for most musicians, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to make. For some, the pressures of family and non-musical careers slowly edge out music-making priorities until there’s no resources left to devote to it. Others step back from music because of the innate and unavoidable challenges that come along with it. If you’re someone that’s taken a break from music and wants to get back into the swing of things, there are things you can do to make it a part of your life again. Here are five tips:

1. Define what you want to do as a musician

The first thing to do is to define what you want to get out of making music. Defining big goals you have for you and your music is crucial in forming the smaller day-to-day tasks and routines you’ll need to set up for yourself to get back into making it. Don’t be afraid to dream big here, but you will need to be specific. If your goal is to get signed by a big label for example, try breaking down what you hope being signed will get you: more fans, critical acclaim, financial support, etc.

2. Set weekly musical goals

Once your big goals are defined, it’s time to write down reasonable weekly tasks and a schedule for making music that you can actually stick to. If you’ve got big goals of making an album or practicing a new set for tour, working towards a goal a couple of devoted hours at a time for a lengthy period is a good way to get it done, especially if you’re busy.

3. Try out new music in low-pressure settings

If it’s been a really long time since you’ve performed or released new music, testing the waters in a low-pressure setting is a good way to ease back into things. Open mic nights, posting music anonymously, meeting up with local songwriters. These are all ways to introduce yourself to music after a long hiatus.

When it’s time to spread the word about your music, it’s time to look at Promote It

4. Listen to new and obscure music

If you’ve been out of the game for a while and need new ideas, consider seeking out and listening to unfamiliar music. This is something you can do today easily with playlists even if you’re busy and don’t have much time to feed your music habit.

5. Figure out what’s keeping you from making music

This last tip is the most important one listed here. If you haven’t made music in a while, things probably won’t change much until you learn why and do something different. Music is work, even though that work happens to be fun and emotionally rewarding for a lot of people. And until you see it as work that has to get done, it won’t be a priority for you and your busy life – I’m assuming your life is busy. Some musicians only work when they feel inspired, and those are the ones most likely to give things up and search for greener creative pastures. Figure out why you haven’t been making music, change it, and get to work.

Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.

Tyler5 Ways To Get Back Into Making Music


Join the conversation
  • Russell Scott Day - February 21, 2019 reply

    I am feeling better since using my smallest weakest amp with one input.
    I’m not singing. I play it in the car again. It’s very simple.
    I remembered to play the Morse Code. I played the keyboard.

    Raphael - April 15, 2019 reply

    I used to work day and night in the studio but after having several strokes I don’t do much with music anymore and it really sucks!

  • Waylon Weavet - February 21, 2019 reply

    Great article Patrick. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jaz Buttar - February 25, 2019 reply

    Thanks for sharing bro

  • Dobbers - February 27, 2019 reply

    Brilliant Article! All points make very good sense, however, point 5 is the crucial one…

  • Stäni Steinbock - February 27, 2019 reply

    Of course having a helpful cat helps! 🙂

  • John steadfast-sullivan - February 27, 2019 reply

    Everything ready and tuned and at hand. Keyboard,guitar double Bass Mic etc…
    I was 78yrs old last month and trying to find someone as motivated as myself is a difficult task.

  • Lawrence Mark Olson - February 27, 2019 reply

    I am one of those who took a long break… My guitar was stolen in Tucson four years ago… So, that slowed me down considerably. I was finally able to get another guitar 🎸 and an amp after a couple of years… But then, I found out that I had cancer. I was in the hospital for a month in Los Angeles, but they discharged me when I finally got a diagnoses… I was trying to drive back to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but I only made it as far as Las Vegas. I had to leave my van with everything I owned in it there after I was in the hospital for another give weeks. I almost died twice there, according to my doctors and nurses. It was all I could do to get on a plane and fly to Froedtert hospital in Milwaukee. They saved my life! I am going into remission now. I am going to treat myself correctly and but a little Martin guitar. I still have a few songs left in my head and I have promised me that I will leave a legacy of my voice comes back. Wish me luck!
    You can find me on here and in Facebook. My name is Lawrence Mark.

  • Jon Campbell - February 28, 2019 reply

    I’m guessing im getting lazy since I made the top 40’s indie artist! I’m just not in a place where I can record comfortably. I just need some new topics to talk about in my music.

  • Andreu Neira - February 28, 2019 reply

    Beautiful! I feel so grateful to have read this!
    Thank you!

  • Bruce - March 1, 2019 reply

    I reconnected with a long-lost friend, one whom I played guitar with back in the day. That makes me want to dust off the three chords and crank up the distortion. So to speak. It’s the old idea of find a friend to do the fun thing with.

  • Greg - March 8, 2019 reply

    I started songwriting at age 50, have released two albums with another due this year. My songs are never going to set the world on fire, but they give ME a great feeling of accomplishing something tangible that will outlive me. I don’t perform in public and it is very liberating when under no pressure to play when I’m not in the mood, or for music to be my income.

  • Aaron Mahoney - April 3, 2019 reply

    Thanks! I found myself in a major bout of depression. I just stuck to running sound and not touching my guitar or keys. This article helps.

  • Johnny Mac - December 6, 2019 reply

    I think everyone has their own way. Everyone’s motivation, lifestyle, environment is different. I have a young and 2 stepsons, as well as a 1-year old baby. I’m struggling to concentrate, but thankfully the motivation is still there 🙂

  • Human Lady - August 17, 2021 reply

    Thank you. “Emotionally rewarding”. I needed to read those words. Just thank you, Human Man.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *