Not focusing enough on music doesn’t seem like a problem for most musicians, but there have never been more distractions in music than there are right now. Whether it’s petty jealousies, disagreements with your team, or obsessing over your social media following, focusing on the things surrounding your music instead of your work can transform into a big problem if you’re not careful. Here are three ways your music suffers when you lose focus on it:
It makes you less productive
There are times during a songwriter’s creative process when making music feels effortless and easy. However, this is not the norm for most musicians. Music requires a great deal of concentration and time. Each thought about your image, public streaming counts, or how another band is getting opportunities that you aren’t, your music is being neglected. There are absolutely times in a music career when non-musical things will need attention. Yet, those are quite different than trivial obsessions and focusing on things that ultimately won’t further your music.
It puts you out of practice
Even as a musician that strictly works behind a computer, losing focus means being a rusty creator and performer. Whether it’s singing, playing an instrument, or producing, being at the top of our game demands focused practice and sacrifice. We risk losing our edge and momentum when we let things pull us away from our work. For example, a relationship, demanding job, or the myriad of duties involved with promoting and sharing music are all ways to lose focus. This makes it much harder to create and perform proficiently in music. Furthermore, a lack of focus will be noticed by fans, bandmates, and other writers.
It hurts your creative vision
Creativity isn’t something we can force as musicians, but we can create spaces and opportunities to leverage it. A lack of focus won’t take away your creativity, but it will make it harder to use. Music needs to be given the time and energy it deserves in order to transform vague ideas into defining statements. However, that can’t happen if your mind is elsewhere during the songwriting process. Your creative vision suffers when your focus isn’t where it should be, and not just in the short-term. Lastly, if you lose focus on your work long enough, there’s a chance you won’t be able to return to it.
In a music career, there’s the act of creating music, and then there’s everything else. The lines might seem blurry for some serious musicians, but the truth is that letting too many things get in the way between you and your work could be detrimental for your career. Giving your music true focus means making it a priority, which demands sacrifice.
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.