4 Ways Musicians Can Combat Burnout

Any artistic, entrepreneurial venture can cause people to be stressed out so much that they may question their reasons for becoming an entrepreneur, artist, or musician. Songwriters, and YouTubers especially, sometimes have a difficult time keeping things fresh and new. Here are four things to consider when you feel burnt out by your work.

Stick to what you like to make

Being a musician is hard enough, and it’s too hard to spend your time focusing on trying to be everyone’s favorite. If playing a certain style of music isn’t up your alley, but you are forcing yourself to do it so you can appear more marketable, you will be miserable. Remember why you like music. Focus on creating and playing the kind of music that excites you, not the kind that you think will make you popular, so that you can pull in more money. This is a hard lesson for musicians to learn, but it will save you a lot of trouble and will allow you to stay in the game long-term. Stick to what you like making.

Lower the pressure

Take a step back. When things seem overwhelming, it’s usually a sign that you are either doing too much, or not enough, of what you really want to be doing. Pressure to succeed can cripple your enjoyment of playing music. A successful album or YouTube video might provide you a short-term jolt of gratification (and even a decent chunk of change), but will you care in 2 years? 3 years? Lower the pressure. Not every thing you make will be a career-defining moment, and that’s perfectly okay.

frustrated musician

Live frugally

It can be hard to live frugally, if you are accustomed to spending a lot. But as a musician starting out, you have to be frugal. Even if you receive a lot of money off of one project, that money will have to sustain you until your next project. Save your money. You have to imagine yourself as the tortoise and your music career as the race. The hare is constantly sprinting and then stopping. The tortoise eventually overtakes the hare and wins, because he moves at a slow and steady pace. He doesn’t splurge because he knows he will need it to reach the finish line. Every cent counts.

Have more fun with your songs

People take themselves way too seriously. Music is supposed to be fun. We don’t listen to music to take YOU seriously; we listen to be entertained or moved. You should be having as much fun playing your music as we do listening to it. If you find you are stuck in a pattern of the same kind of song, a change in the material is needed. This doesn’t mean everything must be lighthearted at all times, but it never hurts to play around with your music. It’s not a contest to see who can come up with the most serious, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking music ever made. Don’t worry if your songs are cheery. Don’t worry if you think no one will like the material. If you like it, and you enjoy making it, we will probably like it too.

broken record

Remember that sustained success is the ultimate goal, and there isn’t a race to get there. The only way to be consistently successful is to enjoy what it is you are doing, or else you won’t have the stamina to continue.

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Mike DiGirolamo has had a strong interest in music from a young age, playing both the cello and trombone. Outside of music he has a love for movies, theatre, and environmental science.

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