I’ve recently been running into strikingly similar conversations among a lot of my close musician friends. Everyone seems to reach a point where you are second guessing your path. Hell, even I have myself. Here’s my quick advice to help keep your head up.
1. First of all, why did you even start playing music in the first place? The obvious answer to this question should be “to have fun.” If it isn’t, you should probably be re-evaluating your goals. Music should always be fun, even if there is business involved for some of us.
2. Second, stop dwelling on where you could be and look at how much you have already accomplished! What goals have you already met? I set realistic challenging goals yearly to help keep my drive up on something I know that is achievable. This seems to have a better effect than those that I see striving for just one main goal with an indefinite timeline. Do I have one of these, yes. However, you need other goals to help you get there and feel like you are growing and accomplishing things along the way.
Examples of some of these for me:
-Moving to Nashville was quite an accomplishment. I know many friends who struggle with this thing alone. It’s terrifying to leave what you know behind.
-Selling over 100 copies of 2 albums with Megajoos really doesn’t seem like a lot. However, take a step outside the big picture and think of how many individuals are supporting you and appreciate what you do. That’s the accomplishment. Most bands struggle with selling 25 or even 50 copies of anything. I still think back to releasing “Mega Deuce” at Springwater and honestly being in dis-belief just from how many people had come to show support for such a young band. We sold 50 copies that night alone and we were planning on maybe 20.
-Receiving e-mails about drum inquiries from my YouTube channel is quite inspirational for me. For someone to come to me, especially when the world is at their finger-tips is an enormous compliment.
-The plain fact of releasing 2 vinyls this year alone with Penicillin Baby and Megajoos.
-There are thousands of others, just look at all the small things like these. Think even smaller if you can.
3. Sit down and listen to the bands and musicians that initially inspired you. Every single time I feel I am losing my way, I go back to the band that struck the joy of wanting to play and share music with others. Led Zeppelin’s “How the West Was Won” Disc 1 always does the trick for me. Almost immediately, I am up and playing drums when “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp” finishes.
4. Listen to what your friend’s bands are doing. It is always inspirational for me to hear Clayton playing with Pujol/Bully or Dan with Quichenight. Seeing Kyle shape and form bands until he finally found the one he wants to push and Tennessee Scum destroy a house show circuit and pack venues in Murfreesboro. These things are all great inspiration for me in many different ways.
5. Help inspire your friends that are in the same position. I know most of you think you are alone with your challenges, but chances are most of your closest friends are going through the same struggles just in a different setting or environment. A prime example of this for me is Megajoos & Screen Door Records. We always seem to be growing at the same rate and going through similar situations, just in different sides of the business.
6. Live in the moment. Don’t dwell on the past or the future. Put all your energy and effort into what you are currently doing and the rest will write itself.
Sorry for the cheesy post and don’t get down! Here’s some tunes to keep the inspiration up.