10 Things That Keep You From Reaching Your Goals As A Musician

crowd-surfing

Indie music blogger Bob Baker asked his readers for their feedback on things that keep them from reaching their musical goals.

They’re all things that I could relate to, and they’re probably things that most musicians can relate to.

Here are the ten that jumped out at me:

10 Things That Keep You From Reaching Your Musical Goals

  1. Not setting goals to begin with
  2. Lack of time
  3. Not planning well enough
  4. Procrastination
  5. Not prioritizing my goals
  6. Lame but convenient excuses
  7. Not knowing where to start
  8. Perfectionism
  9. Fear of failure
  10. Facebook

What’s interesting about the list is that almost all of the reasons that musicians come up with for not reaching their goals are things that they/we control.

There are a couple of things that didn’t make Baker’s list, but probably should have:

  • not sucking;  and
  • not finding an audience.

Not sure who controls that, though.

Let me know what you think of Baker’s list. And – is anything holding you back?

Image; Caesar Sebastian

17 thoughts on “10 Things That Keep You From Reaching Your Goals As A Musician

  1. If someone has true talent, passion for music and is allowed to be heard, much of that list can be ignored.
    Some of those items even overlap others on the same list.

    Steely Dan are perfectionists, but have sold tens of millions of records.
    Donald Fagen even had stage fright.

  2. Even with the internet… it's about location, drive, talent. You're not going to catch anyone's ear if you only play in rochester, ny or springfield, ma for example. Your audience is extremely limited. Think about it a second and play the odds… you have a small population city, a small turnover in residence coming and going (except college students), narrow those by the ones who go out to live music clubs, narrow that by those who actually listen to the band playing, then limit that by the number who may like your music, and limit that by those who will come see you again. You can sway it by being popular and bringing friends to watch and promote you, advertising, giving away CDs, playing naked, etc but eventually you need to play in front of new people and impress them and beg them to come to your next show.

  3. Even with the internet… it's about location, drive, talent. You're not going to catch anyone's ear if you only play in rochester, ny or springfield, ma for example. Your audience is extremely limited. Think about it a second and play the odds… you have a small population city, a small turnover in residence coming and going (except college students), narrow those by the ones who go out to live music clubs, narrow that by those who actually listen to the band playing, then limit that by the number who may like your music, and limit that by those who will come see you again. You can sway it by being popular and bringing friends to watch and promote you, advertising, giving away CDs, playing naked, etc but eventually you need to play in front of new people and impress them and beg them to come to your next show.

  4. Depends on what "your goals" are, Nines…

    If you intend on becoming a mainstream musician playing 300+ days of the year in sold-out arenas, then yes… you best find a LARGE following. And you are setting your expectations VERY HIGH… if you are going to become a programmer, do you really think you'll be working for Microsoft or Google as a team leader? Not likely….

    If, instead, your have more realistic goals, outlooks change. I have a full-time job paying 75K/yr, play in a local "mega-church" as well as some local gigs around town. I have a wife and two daughters, and I couldn't be happier. My salary pays my bills, and I get to enjoy performing with some very talented musicians while being able to have that creative outlet. Yes, I have to put my own time in to rehearse, but that wouldn't be any different than what a nationally-touring musician would do. I also have the luxury of taking time off when I feel a rut setting in. I write my own music, but get to do it at my own pace.

    I have a friend who has been touring for over 5 years now, and has made the statement that touring has gotten very old. Very hard to have a family, barely making enough money, and what was once his LOVE has become his JOB… now the pressure of playing has taken away from his ability to love his music.

    Again, goals are all relative and in the heart and mind of the beholder…

    My goal is to become the best guitarist I can be, and never feel like music is a burden or performing is a do-or-die situation.

    Good luck all!

  5. Depends on what "your goals" are, Nines…

    If you intend on becoming a mainstream musician playing 300+ days of the year in sold-out arenas, then yes… you best find a LARGE following. And you are setting your expectations VERY HIGH… if you are going to become a programmer, do you really think you'll be working for Microsoft or Google as a team leader? Not likely….

    If, instead, your have more realistic goals, outlooks change. I have a full-time job paying 75K/yr, play in a local "mega-church" as well as some local gigs around town. I have a wife and two daughters, and I couldn't be happier. My salary pays my bills, and I get to enjoy performing with some very talented musicians while being able to have that creative outlet. Yes, I have to put my own time in to rehearse, but that wouldn't be any different than what a nationally-touring musician would do. I also have the luxury of taking time off when I feel a rut setting in. I write my own music, but get to do it at my own pace.

    I have a friend who has been touring for over 5 years now, and has made the statement that touring has gotten very old. Very hard to have a family, barely making enough money, and what was once his LOVE has become his JOB… now the pressure of playing has taken away from his ability to love his music.

    Again, goals are all relative and in the heart and mind of the beholder…

    My goal is to become the best guitarist I can be, and never feel like music is a burden or performing is a do-or-die situation.

    Good luck all!

  6. All in all, if you do your best to stay true to your art, an audience will find that art. It may not happen overnight, but its a better train of thought than some kats thinking that the only path or and all be all to musical success resides in lear jets , huge record labels, snorting coke off a strippers ass, or groupies with bad mall hair! Force feed your music to the public, viral marketing, give some stuff away and ask for donations, make them know your art before they know you even exist! Start next door and down the street. If your neighborhood don't know you, no one's gonna know you. 🙂 The only thing that would ever stand in the way of talent finding its place for all of us to enjoy would be that artists lack of ambition. I know that life happens and may make things difficult but, no matter your life situation, if there is time for an excuse there is time for work and creativity!

    Keep creating,

  7. All in all, if you do your best to stay true to your art, an audience will find that art. It may not happen overnight, but its a better train of thought than some kats thinking that the only path or and all be all to musical success resides in lear jets , huge record labels, snorting coke off a strippers ass, or groupies with bad mall hair! Force feed your music to the public, viral marketing, give some stuff away and ask for donations, make them know your art before they know you even exist! Start next door and down the street. If your neighborhood don't know you, no one's gonna know you. 🙂 The only thing that would ever stand in the way of talent finding its place for all of us to enjoy would be that artists lack of ambition. I know that life happens and may make things difficult but, no matter your life situation, if there is time for an excuse there is time for work and creativity!

    Keep creating,

  8. gotta do everything yourself.

    No excuses. No complaints. This includes being "jaded."

    If you want it, you grab it.

    You love it, you do it, die trying, or be unsatisfied.

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