Think of the last time you wrote a record with a band, or developed demos with a songwriting partner. The collaborative spirit and the camaraderie between your songwriting team probably comes to mind. For songwriting relationships to thrive, everyone involved needs to feel heard, understood, and validated. Yet oftentimes, the importance of this creative space is overlooked in music.
When things don’t go our way, it’s natural that it can sometimes overwhelm us. This can trickle down to our art, and affect the way we create music. However, we can turn this negativity into creativity. In fact, many artists have taken difficult experiences from their lives, and used it as a catalyst and source of inspiration for their music. Granted, it is difficult for an artist who encounters hardship to turn it into good music. However, understanding how to manage your perspective on negativity may spur your creativity as a musician.
Without flexibility, you’ll devote more energy and time to being frustrated and disappointed than putting in the work. There are countless things outside of your control in music – from whether anyone listens to your music, to the reception of your latest release. A rigid mindset limits your perception, and doesn’t offer alternate plans for when things don’t go your way. However, approaching music flexibly gives you multiple ways to respond to challenging situations. Here are just three out of many situations in music where keeping a flexible mindset will help your career:
Finding new fans can feel like one of the most arduous tasks emerging musicians face. Faced with an innate desire to make music that resonates and reaches their ideal audience, it’s easy to feel discouraged when you miss the mark. However, there are so many unique ways to expand your reach and connect with your audience. There are new fans all around you, just waiting to discover your new song. Here’s are a few innovative ways to catch their attention:
Curiosity is by far one of the most important traits to possess as a songwriter. It’s a quality that asks what’s possible in music. Imagination unlocks new ideas as you write, and curiosity acts like a bridge that leads you there. If it doesn’t come naturally to you, don’t fret. Here are three ways to foster curiosity in your songwriting practice:
If you’re the kind of musician that just wants to make music and do nothing else, it’s a sign your heart is in the right place. You’re going to need a huge amount of passion and grit if you want to connect with an audience in an industry as brutal and competitive as music. Unfortunately, passion alone isn’t going to be enough if you want an actual shot at making this your career or even simply creating music long enough to find an audience. Creating goals big and small, short and long-term, is something every serious musician needs to do to succeed.
No, scratch that. We got into music because we couldn’t not get into it. Because there’s something in us that just feels right at home when we pick up our instrument, or walk into the studio, when our creativity gets to soar and we get to be ourselves in that very unique way that only happens when it’s us and our music.
Musicians know the feeling. Industry professionals know the feeling. You know that feeling. That’s why you’re here. We all chase it. But sometimes we have to put it on the back burner because of work or life or whatever else—and that feels awful, doesn’t it?
But when you’re working full time and trying to manage all the other little pieces of life, it can feel exhausting to try to fit in your passion. It starts to feel more like a chore and less like the thing that truly lights you up, until it becomes more and more difficult to make it a daily part of your life again.
First, you’re not alone. We all feel this at one point or another and everyone struggles to prioritize the things they love. It doesn’t mean you don’t love it, it just means you might need a little help finding time for it. And you’re also not alone in juggling your day job with music. Most musicians are in this stage right now.
There is a whole community of musicians hustling to make this their reality, but if you’re not careful, it can start to feel overwhelming. So, how do you break the cycle and balance your music career with your day job?
The chances are high that if you’re reading this, you’ve released some music at some point. The world is accustomed to hearing stories about artists who make music for the first time and somehow find a massive audience, but this is probably not what happened with your first single, EP, or album. It’s not the way things go for the overwhelmingly vast majority of people who create music. Regardless of what you think of your last release, you can always make better and better music, and a willingness to acknowledge and learn from your past shortcomings will help you improve the next music you write in huge ways.