What success means in music will inevitably be completely different for each of us, but we won’t get to where we want to go with our music if we don’t do the work as serious musicians. Whether you’re working towards becoming a professional songwriter or just want to write and rehearse enough songs to play a live show at a local venue, you’ll need to put in plenty of work to reach your goals. The trouble is that we often let excuses keep us from pursuing music the way we wish we could. These are four common ones to look out for that artists often cite when they talk about what’s keeping them from succeeding.
It’s easy to overthink the songwriting process whether you’re a seasoned pro or are writing your first batch of songs. But regardless of where you’re at in your music-making journey, you and your music will end up suffering if you nitpick your songs to death. Spontaneity and curiosity are two crucial character traits you’ll need to make interesting music, but prioritizing perfection and your own intellect leaves you more likely to make boring music and less likely to finish your songs. Here are five red flags that you’re overthinking your music:
Making music isn’t easy, but we often make it a lot harder than it has to be. If you’re committed to being a serious songwriter, music creation has to become a regular part of your life. And while there are some significant sacrifices involved with doing this, there are some simple life changes that are easy to make and will benefit your music in huge ways. Here are five manageable life changes that can improve your music:
Every year we ring in the New Year with a laundry list of well-intentioned promises to ourselves. We’ll finally start practicing with consistency. Get enough sleep. Make those connections. Do the things we’ve been avoiding doing. We put all this pressure on ourselves to suddenly be a wildly new and improved version of ourselves. And usually, a lot of that falls into our music career. We put the lion’s share of our goals into how we can do better with our careers. And that’s not a bad thing. After all, there’s something really inspiring about the start of a new year, filled with new opportunities. It can be the fresh new start that we need to finally take action on things we’ve been ignoring.
In songwriting and in life, it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that things need to be perfect before you can start working towards your goals. Sure, you’d love to finish your debut album, but a few of your songs aren’t as strong as they should be and it’s just not ready. You want to spend more of your time making music, but you’re waiting until your home studio has the ideal equipment setup first. Or maybe becoming a serious songwriter has always been a goal of yours, but a voice inside you says you just don’t have the talent it takes to succeed.
It’s true that the more time you spend engaging with the music creation process, the better songwriter you’ll become. But if you’re the type of workaholic songwriter that goes weeks without leaving the studio to see the light of day, you’re missing something important. Breaks are crucial for your process no matter who you are and what kind of music you make. Spending every waking moment writing might sound good for your process, but there’s a point where doing this actually backfires and starts to hurt your music. If you’re burnt out and think you need a break, here are five signs to look out for:
“Bad” and “good” are vague and frustrating terms when it comes to measuring up music. What’s good in the mind of one listener might be awful to another. A better way to think about it is determining whether a piece of music is successful or not, and as songwriters this is a topic that’s near and dear to our hearts. We don’t have to personally like a song to recognize that it has standout qualities that we’re looking to emulate in our own music. Similarly, there are universal qualities we can listen for and avoid in unsuccessful music. Here are five signs that a song isn’t going to make a connection with listeners: