Why do you make music?

From time to time, artists encounter challenges such as losing motivation, stagnation, or questioning their goals and creative journey. In those instances, continuing to create or establishing new objectives can be difficult. What can aid in overcoming these challenges is taking a moment to reflect on your intentions as a musician. Examining what you hope to achieve through your musical pursuits will help you understand how to use this insight to pave the way for future success.

Reconnecting with the underlying reasons for making music can steer you back on course and assist in setting new, tangible goals that align with your fundamental motivations. This article aims to guide you in rediscovering your reasons for creating music and posing questions that will hopefully unveil what truly matters to you and what you seek from your art.

Motivations behind creating music vary widely. Often, it's a combination of several aspects, with some holding more significance than others. For many, the passion and love for music take precedence over everything else. Music serves as a vibrant and enjoyable medium to express one's identity, ideas, emotions, and experiences. Some even find it therapeutic and essential for their mental well-being.

Others are motivated not only by passion but also by the sense of community that music fosters. Creating and sharing music brings people together in diverse settings, fostering discussions about art and forming meaningful relationships. This sense of belonging is vital for both musicians and their audiences.

Alternatively, some musicians approach their craft from a business perspective, viewing themselves primarily as career artists. Those who see music as a profession, or aspire for it to become one, have different priorities and incentives than those who pursue it as a hobby. This may include considerations such as money, networking, and visibility.

It's crucial to acknowledge that being a professional musician has its advantages but also comes with challenges. While this shouldn't dissuade you, it's essential to be realistic about the realities of a musician's life. For instance, if you inherently dislike attention, visibility, and online discussions about yourself, being a performing musician may prove more stressful than fulfilling.

Moreover, success in the realm of art extends beyond monetary gains or status. Achievements like honing your musical skills, finding a supportive community, or exploring genres beyond your comfort zone are all noteworthy accomplishments that shouldn't be underestimated.

Once you've clarified the role of music in your life, you can begin shaping an environment that aligns with your intentions. For instance, if music is your passion and a means to connect with people rather than a career pursuit, you may not need to overly concern yourself with the industry at large. In this scenario, finding motivation might involve spending time within your community and sharing your music to connect with more people. On the other hand, if you view music as a career, considerations such as marketing and networking become more pivotal.

To further assist in understanding your intentions, here are some questions to ponder:

  1. If you never had the opportunity to monetize your music, would you still pursue it?
  2. How significant is a sense of community to you?
  3. Can you handle visibility, attention, and people discussing you?
  4. How much time do you want to dedicate to music each day?
  5. Do you believe that relying on your art for financial support would negatively impact your creativity and passion?
  6. Whom do you want to share your music with, and do you even want to share it?
  7. Can you envision integrating art and business?
  8. Do you see yourself still creating music 10-20 years from now?
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