Ah, the winter slowdown. Without fail, this is one of my favorite times of the year—and not just because I love the sparkle of holiday lights, or the warmth of family togetherness. It’s because it’s that glorious time where everyone is finally backing off their emails, slowing down their hustle, and taking the time to enjoy a bit of down time. Which, all on its own is an important piece of the holiday slowdown. But if you plan it just right, this can actually be one of your most productive times of the year.
Think about it—with everyone else going quiet, it gives you time to properly focus on growing your career, rather than rushing just to maintain it. So get out your calendar, your journal, and your favorite pen, because we’re about to dive into how to make the most of this winter slowdown.
Frosty, Heidi, and Frank have solidified their position as pioneers of the broadcast radio world. From their early talk radio success in Colorado to their current lights-out success of their KLOS 95.5 Los Angeles radio show, Frosty, Heidi, and Frank have been changing the game at every turn.
Most notably, the Frosty, Heidi, and Frank show has exploded in popularity with their “Stay or Go” segment, where independent artists hold the spotlight, play their song on air, and let listeners vote on whether the artist gets another song played, or if they only get that one song. The segment gives independent artists a chance to earn countless new fans, while challenging them to present their best work to the show’s listeners. They’re currently looking to feature up to twelve ReverbNation artists through our opportunity here.
Unless you’re a songwriter that happens to crank out great songs every time you make music, predictability and boredom are big challenges to cope with when it comes to how writers work and what motivates them. The process you relied on to write songs a couple of years ago might not provide the same energy and ideas you need now to write something meaningful, but dismantling the way you make music and putting it back together again in new ways isn’t easy. Here are three ways to help you get started:
The relationship musicians have with their fans is pretty fascinating if you think about it. What would music mean if it wasn’t heard by anyone other than the artist that created it? A song has a world of meanings and intentions on behalf of the songwriter, but once that song is put in front of a listener, it evolves into something else entirely. Without listeners, musicians are still musicians, but their music doesn’t have the same purpose. For musicians intent on having an audience connect with their music, being able to relate with listeners in an honest way is paramount. Unfortunately, saying it is easy but putting it into practice can be a challenge for some musicians.
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.