Every now and then, artists lose motivation, stagnate, or question their goals and their creative journey. During those times, it can be challenging to continue creating or defining new objectives. What can help is to sit down and reflect on your intentions as a musician. Looking at what you wish to accomplish through making music will help you acknowledge how you can use this information to set yourself up for future success.
Reminding yourself of the underlying reasons why you make music can help you get back on track and set new, tangible goals that align with the “why”. In this article, we aim to help you (re)discover your reasons for making music, and ask questions that will hopefully help you understand what you truly care about and want from your art.
Reasons for why you make music
There are many reasons why musicians create. Most of the time, it is a combination of several aspects, with some being more relevant than others. For many, the passion and love for music matters more than anything. Music is a great and fun medium to convey who you are, your ideas, feelings, and experiences. For some, it can even be therapeutic and essential for their mental health.
For others, it is not only the passion but the community that gives them a reason to create and stay involved. Making and sharing music allows people to come together in different settings to discuss art and form meaningful relationships of all kind. This provides a sense of belonging to musicians and their audiences.
Some musicians, however, are focused on the business side of music and primarily see themselves as career artists. People who see music as their job, or want it to become their job, have different approaches and incentives than those who pursue it as a hobby. This includes aspects like money, networks, and visibility.
Keep in mind that although being a professional musician comes with many advantages, it can also be a challenging profession. While this should not discourage you, it makes sense to remain realistic about what being a musician can look like. For example, if you fundamentally dislike attention, visibility, and being talked about online, being a performing musician can be more stressful than fulfilling.
Furthermore, success within art is about much more than money or status. Getting good at making music, finding community, or releasing a song outside of your main genre are all examples of significant achievements that should not be underestimated.
Create a setting that fosters your goals
Once you’ve figured out what role music plays in your life, you can start asking yourself how to create a setting that contributes to your intentions. For example, if you see music as your passion and a way to connect with people rather than a career path, you might not necessarily need to worry too much about the industry as a whole. In this case, you can find motivation by spending time around your community and sharing your music to connect with more people. If, however, you do consider it your career, other aspects such as marketing and networking will be more important.
Some questions you can ask yourself
Lastly, we would like to add some questions you can ask yourself that will hopefully help you understand your intentions better.
If you never got the chance to make money from your music, would you still pursue it?
How important is community to you?
Can you deal with visibility, attention, and people talking about you?
How much time do you want to be able to spend on music every day?
Do you think that depending on your art financially would negatively impact your creativity and passion for it?
Who do you want to share your music with, and do you want to share it in the first place?
Can you see yourself combining art and business?
Do you see yourself still making music 10-20 years from now?
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