Are Pro Musicians Measuring Success Wrong?

If you’re like 99% of professional musicians, you know others who are busier than you. 

They perform more and record more. Sometimes it can be hard to deal with, especially when things are quiet.

When you ask these musicians how they are, they will probably have one of 3 reactions:

1. The Genuinely Happy.

The least common reaction is meeting a musician, who is happy with a massive workload. They exist but it’s rare. 

2. The Humble Brag. 

The humble bragger talks about how ‘hard’ it is being so busy but doesn’t really mean it. Perhaps they work so much because they don’t know who they are when they are not playing music? 

3. The Genuinely Stressed.

These musicians are overworked because they feel like they HAVE TO. Like many, they are from the school of ‘Make Hay While The Sun Is Shining’.

Have you ever thought about how many of these ‘busy’ musicians are setting their own prices vs. how many are just taking the work? 

We can all get caught up in jealous feelings when seeing others on social media and it’s likely that some of our posts have triggered some envy among others. 

None of it is real. Context is missing. Recently I posted a picture of me boarding a private jet to a gig. The reality of that gig? The 30-minute jet ride was great fun, but many other aspects of the other 48 hours… less so!

Are you regularly doing soul-destroying gigs for the money? If so… is it really worth it?

What would happen your energy and creativity levels if you walked away?

Would it give you time to play the music you want and find a way to replace the income?

Didn’t we all decide to become musicians because we enjoyed the freedom and we love playing music we like?

As professional musicians, we have a choice. We can charge more and work less. Or… we can risk burn out. Busy isn’t cool. Happy is.

Because so many of us are deeply connected to music, we find it hard to disconnect our identity from our performance. 

Here’s the deep bit…

When we realise our value as people, has nothing to do with how we play, more often than not, we play better.

Did you take enough time off this year to not be a musician?
What did you miss out on because you were working?

I help professional musicians make more money in less time, so they can have a happy life away from gigs. If that is something you'd like to get help with. Get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.

Toby Goodman