Thanksgiving isn’t just the time of year where you get to gather around the table with your crazy uncle and aunts, avoiding heated conversations while scooping a second helping of mashed potatoes onto your plate. At its core, it’s meant to be about finding gratitude in things. Which I get can sound a little hokey. Of course it’s in the name itself “THANKSgiving” and we know we’re supposed to be grateful because every year a million social media posts (and now this blog post) tell us so.
Succeeding in music is a frustratingly vague thing to wrap your mind around because it means something different to every music-maker. For some, success might be the idea of transforming into a mega popstar overnight and earning enough money to buy an island. For others, success means making music audiences love and being praised by critics. But no matter what success means to you, you won’t find it without doing the work.
When you first learned music, practicing your instrument was probably a daily struggle. Whether it was dealing with the pain on your fingertips from playing guitar or learning how to master the embouchure on the trumpet, it’s safe to assume you spent months learning the basics of your instrument and years honing in your technical skills. The world knows how hard it is for someone to sound truly great on an instrument and that musicians can’t excel without thousands of hours of practice. Unfortunately, musicians and non-musicians alike often don’t see songwriting the same way. Many musicians and non-musicians alike have the idea that songwriting is a talent that can’t be developed with years of practice. They’re wrong.
Have you ever gone out for drinks with your friends, and it turns out they’ve brought along another friend who you don’t already know? It might feel a little weird at first, but as soon as you get to talking you realize that you actually get along really well with this new person—and the more you hang out with them, the more of their personality you get to see, the more you realize you’d actually like to keep hanging out with them even after this.
If you’re a musician that’s obsessed with statistics, you probably love the in-depth analytic information that most major streaming platforms now offer to artists. But if you’re not a fan of numbers and graphs, you might be missing out on the benefits that streaming analytic data can give you as an artist. If you’re a serious artist that tours and frequently releases new music, paying attention to the data behind your music can help you. Here’s how:
It can be exciting to read reviews of your music when they portray your music in a positive light. But, unfortunately, make music and share it with the world long enough, and it’s almost inevitable that some negative feedback about your work will get published and sent your way. The truth is that music criticism can help you as a music-maker whether the reviews covering your music are flattering or difficult to read. It all depends on your perspective and goals.
While it’s clear that the pandemic isn’t going to have a defined endpoint, musicians of every genre and background are beginning to get back on stages around the world again, and audiences couldn’t be happier. As you make your way back to the world of live shows, you might be surprised to discover that you feel oddly nervous about performing again. Some reading this might be musicians with years of performance experience, but the truth is that more than a year of sitting out live shows is a long time to be away from the stage even if you’re a seasoned pro. Combine that with anxiety you might have about being indoors with crowds of people again, and you’ve got a recipe for performance-related nerves. Here are a few tips to help fight stage fright before your post-lockdown shows:
Even the most talented songwriters can’t create their best music without putting in the work. If you want to make the best music you can, you’ll need to show up to the creation process over and over again throughout your life, not just when you feel inspired to. Living a musical life happens week by week, and there’s a lot you can do each day to create the best work you can as often as possible. Adopting these weekly habits will help dramatically improve your life as a serious songwriter: