At its best, touring is fun, lucrative, and creatively fulfilling. At its worst, it’s capable of bringing even the most experienced musicians to their knees. Touring can lead to disaster for musicians of every level of experience, but new bands are especially susceptible. Here are three reasons why.
When I first started touring, I measured success by whether my band ended our time out on the road in debt or not. Personal spending aside, I considered simply being able to be on tour without having to spend money a success. But many tours and a decade later, I see things pretty differently not just when it comes to spending and earning money on tour, but whether it’s worth it for me to be out on the road in the first place.
I’ve been making music seriously for more than a decade now. There are times when writing a song feels like the most natural thing in the world, when chords, melodies, and lyrics spill out of me without effort or thought. But most of the time, songwriting doesn’t come easy to me if I’m being honest. These days, if I made music only when I felt like it, I wouldn’t be making any music. It’s sort of like when a person simultaneously dreads and looks forward to going to the gym. I know that the act of making music makes me a more sane, whole, and loving person, but man is it hard sometimes. And this doesn’t even get into the non-musical aspects of trying to create and share music with the world––booking shows, pitching to blogs, and playlists, etc.
Taking a break every now and then from music isn’t just a good idea. It’s mandatory for anyone who makes music seriously. The problem comes when musicians step too far away from their work and can’t find their way back to it.
How can musicians like me and anyone else who does this seriously get the most out of taking breaks from their work without leaving it completely?
That answer is going to change wildly from musician to musician, but here are a few things I’ve learned when it comes to taking time away from music:
There’s no one way to write a song. If you’re a songwriter, you’re probably well aware of this fact. But when a musician comes up with a great idea, it can be difficult to remember this when a single idea fails to materialize into a good song. We often love musical ideas so much that we’ll do anything to protect and preserve them, even if it means ultimately wasting our time or sacrificing other ideas that actually work well in a piece of music.
But how do you know when to press forward with an idea and when to bail? This is a question that songwriters and composers have grappled with for as long as music has been around.
Guarantees are few and hard to come by for those working professionally as music-makers. For most of us, uncertainty is an unavoidable part of writing songs, booking shows, and trying to make a living through music. Through a combination of talent, hard work, and creating the right music at the right time, some musicians find the kind of success in their work that changes the rest of their lives. But for others––the vast majority of musicians––life-altering success in music never quite materializes. The sad truth is that you could do everything right and never find success in music. Here are three reasons why:
Imagine you’ve got two friends. One can’t stop talking and the other measures their words and only speaks up when they want to say something important. Who are you more likely to listen to? Lots of musicians can learn a valuable lesson from the quiet friend, and not just when it comes to playing music. Stepping back, being quiet, and listening is something that might not come naturally to musicians, but it’s essential for maintaining relationships and making the most out of your musical talents. Read on to find out more about how listening can help your music career.
For lots of musicians, navigating relationships with bandmates often proves to be more difficult than writing songs, promoting music, or performing on stage. Touring around the country and pouring money and countless hours into a band can precipitate tense conditions between members because the stakes are so high. Learning how to bring up tough topics with your bandmates isn’t an option if you’re planning to make music with the same project over the long-term. Here are five tips to help.
When you’re building your team as an artist, or exploring the world of industry career options, you want to make sure you know who is who in this industry. For instance, as a publicist I’m often confused as having the same duties as someone in marketing. A booking agent and promoter are often used interchangeably when in reality, their jobs are very different.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the most well-known careers in the industry and a brief run-down of what each entails. The industry and its career options are always growing, so if you don’t see a role that seems like a fit for you just yet, don’t give up. There’s plenty of us in this industry who have created a non-defined role all our own—in the meantime, check out our list.