“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent”
― Victor Hugo
There comes a time in your music endeavour where you feel stuck and unable to have the same passion you had when you first began. That sense of wonder and the ability to appreciate the smallest of details start to fade. Sometimes you feel burnt out and distant with music. Like an old flame, you’re not sure what to feel about. But relax, this is normal. It’s not something to be afraid of, in fact, it is very common in us creatives/musicians. Think of it as a downtime, a moment to breath, we are not machines after all. You may be wondering; how do I get the groove back? Is it lost forever in the wilderness? Is it all in my head? Don’t worry, I’ve got you; here are a couple of ways to get that drive and passion back in its rightful place.
Remind yourself why you started in the first place – Remember the first time you wrote a song, or the time you were first recording your voice singing? Maybe even the time you decided that music was the journey you wanted to embark on. This is the most beautiful stage of all, the beginning of where your passion for music solidifies. Why not try to get back to that headspace, understand why you were feeling those emotions when they were happening. You weren’t there for the fame, for money, for the attention (I hope), in fact, you were most likely feeling a sense of fulfilment and pure joy from it. There was no agenda, just bliss. Get back to that state and really apply that sense of wonder back, it will make your music journey feel worthwhile and for a moment, things might make sense again.
Ask yourself the tough questions – Who do I aspire to be? What do I want to achieve in my musical journey? Most importantly, why is that? What am I willing to give and sacrifice for the price of my goals? Is this a hobby, or something I must do in my life? Answering these questions will act as a guide or a map towards where you really belong in the music atmosphere. If you happen to conclude that music might not be your life’s passion, it’s okay. Honesty is where you find peace. But truthfully, I highly doubt that music isn’t your life’s calling and passion, why else would you click on this article. There’s a still voice, just waiting to be heard. And these questions should hopefully bring about a sense of clarity.
After thinking about these questions and answering them, set out a master plan for how to tackle the journey, and start taking action! You want to create momentum and feel like you’re progressing, step-by-step. Talk is cheap, ideas are cheap, drafts of your work are cheap, but fully realizing them and releasing them to the world is what truly makes the difference. Share your art and your music to the world, don’t let the fire fade.
Recalibrate your musical influences and inspiration – Listen to new music, new genres, new playlists, watch music videos, music documentaries, read a ton of books and articles about your heroes. Just by doing this, you are feeding your subconscious mind ideas and concepts you might have never thought of! Take a chance and go out of your comfort zone with the music you listen to, it will do wonders for your creative bank! Most importantly, steal! Steal from all these forces, and implement them in your arsenal. I can 100% assure you, this is what all our heroes do. Take an idea, and make it their own! Don’t forget to give credit, where credit is due 😊
Take a step back, take a break – Even after all that I’ve said, maybe all you need is some time off. A day? A week? A month? Whatever works best for you. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel like music is almost a burden when your daily life is surrounded by it so much. Sometimes, staying away from it for a couple of days makes you appreciate what it does to you. It also gives your mind and creativity a rest, which is vital if you’re in it for the long haul.
So instead of beating yourself up time and time again, asking why you’re not motivated or creative, why not just take a step back, don’t think about music at all, and just enjoy life for the meantime being. Try it. I’m hoping by the time you come back to music again, it will feel so joyous, you will tell yourself ‘this is where I belong and I’m grateful to be a part of it’.
An as usual, take the advice you think will work for you; and get rid of the ones you don’t agree with (don’t worry, I won’t take it personally).
If you would like to know more, or just connect and chat, come say hi (@jonathanmilanes):