The more time and space you carve out in your daily life for music creation, the better chance you’ll have at writing great songs. The way you build time and space in your life for music is a fancy way to describe a songwriting practice. Define and prioritize your songwriting practice, and you’ll have a clear path for reaching your goals as a music creator. But by writing irregularly and only when you feel like it, you’ll make it much harder to write your best music.
The non-musical world often thinks that making and performing music is always fun, easy, and instantly gratifying. But serious musicians know that this is only one part of their story. Loading your equipment out of a venue you just played after a show that no one attended isn’t fulfilling. Pitching your new album to a long list of email contacts and never hearing back isn’t fun. And yet both these examples are things independent musicians have to do to find audiences for their music. You can think of it as “paying your dues,” but the kicker is that some artists never manage to move past the stage of trying to get the world to notice their music, even if their songs are great. That’s a hard truth about pursuing music.
By now, most of the world has gone without live shows for so long that it can often feel like they’ll never return. Luckily, that’s not the case. The transition from where we’re at now to what live music was like before 2020 isn’t going to happen overnight, and things might never look the same. But before packed arena shows and music festivals return, the live music industry is most likely in for a period of transition. These three show formats are the ones likely to first return after the pandemic.
Without realizing it, we’re vulnerable to being sucked into lazy habits, ruts, and unproductive routines as songwriters. When making music doesn’t feel exciting or challenging anymore, it’s time to add newness and risk back into your process. However, for a lot of songwriters, this is easier said than done. What we often forget is that falling into ruts isn’t just a single decision, but countless small choices designed to keep things as comfortable and predictable as possible while we write. If it’s time to blow up your process and start over, consider trying out these strategies:
As a musician, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re only being productive when you’re writing, recording, or performing. But the truth is that your life in music will end up being far more fruitful and rewarding if you punctuate your hard work with breaks. Taking breaks is essential not only for preserving creativity and energy but also for sustaining your personal life. If any of the following four scenarios describe your current mindset, it’s probably time to take a break from music:
While there’s more music being made right now than at any other point in human history, there’s also no shortage of disappointments in music, whether it’s reading a scathing album review or getting news that an entire year’s worth of shows was canceled.
For countless developing musicians, the biggest forms of disappointment in music come in the form of silent rejections, like venues not returning emails or blogs passing on your music without telling you why or if they ever even listened to your submission. It’s rough out there, but you already knew that. But what you may not know is just how important resilience is for a musician.
The pre-pandemic music world brought lots of in-person networking opportunities for artists and music industry professionals. Major music hubs like Los Angeles, New York, or Nashville would house dozens of networking conferences every year, along with global music hubs like London or Paris as well. As artists and music industry professionals, we would travel to these conferences curated for specific areas of the music industry, such as performance, music technology, film scoring, composition, music business, and many other areas. These were great opportunities for networking and making connections with one another.
In today’s world of music streaming, thousands of songs are being released every day. As listeners, this is wonderful because it gives us access to a lot of new music. On the other hand, for us artists, that means we have to compete with each other for the attention of our listeners.