Finding the right balance between work and life in music.
Let's face it, the music industry can be very difficult to get into and you usually have to put in a lot of work to get somewhere within it.
By getting into the music industry, I don't just mean being a chart topping artist or a record label executive, I mean any way of making money from any musical route. For example: Being a sound engineer, a session musician or even music teacher.
You need to have a strong resolve and be able to bounce back from potential rejection whilst trying to see it as an experience to learn from and improve upon. The purpose of this blog is to remind anyone who is working flat out in a music related job, to simply know when to take a break! Whether it be 10 minutes to a week, scheduling breaks into your life of music won't just help your well-being, but will help the quality of your work as well.
So we're going to go through a few tips for finding the right balance between work and life in music and look at my experience working in areas of music production and business as an example to hopefully help you on your musical journey.
If you're working in a different job but also looking to pursue music related work without overdoing it, check out our other blog: How to balance making music with a full time job.
Music is life, right?
If, like me, your life revolves around music, you will most likely understand how important it is to so many people, including ourselves! For example, when I'm not teaching music, producing music and engineering music, I'm usually listening to it. Music is extremely therapeutic for a lot of people, which leads me to my first piece of advice (which I still struggle to adhere to!). If you feel yourself beginning to feel burnt out or frustrated by the work that you're doing, don't quit, but try to step back from it and take a break. This can be difficult to do but is a great habit to get into. If you're like me, and think "I'm ok to continue" or "I don't want to appear lazy", try and remind yourself that you're human and not a machine! Trying to take on too much can start making you feel like music is becoming a chore, which is the last thing we want!
Whether you're spending hours in the studio, having endless club night shifts as an engineer or spending all week teaching, just try to schedule in breaks, even if they are only for 10 minutes. For example, taking a quick time out from mixing a track, will not only be beneficial to your hearing, but will also enable you to go back to it with fresh ears and a new sense of determination and passion.
I agree that music is life, but as long as it's not starting to become a chore!
Remember, to take time for yourself. Whether that be spending time with friends and family, going for a walk or just watching a film. Try to break your work up before it overwhelms you.
My top tips from experience:
Try and limit distractions whilst working:
Sometimes I find myself working in the studio for hours on end and I'm always getting notifications on my phone, which is naturally distracting. These distractions started to make me feel stressed as I was trying to master tracks for people, whilst getting other people messaging me with questions I felt I should answer then and there. Now I simply put my phone on silent and out of reach, and check it occasionally when I have a break. If people demand an immediate response, well then that's their problem. Unfortunately, some people don't take into account that you're busy even when you've explained it to them which takes us on to my next point…
You can't please everyone!
You can spend so much time trying to get multiple things done and as previously mentioned a small number of people don't take your time into consideration. I've developed a thick skin to unpleasant venue managers, artists and DJs, due to being a live sound engineer but it doesn't mean we should let these people treat us badly when the majority of people I work with are amazing! If you can, try to focus on pleasing the people that actually appreciate it. Apart from this making your work more rewarding, it may well lead to lucrative collaborations in the future as well.
Know your worth!
Don't let people take advantage of your skills and know that your time and skills are valuable!
Like a lot of people I've suffered from being overworked and burnt out in the past. That is why I believe that everything I've mentioned in this blog is so important.
Remember to take time for yourself! After all, you can't pour from an empty vessel!