Becoming a full-time composer often seems like little more than a dream. Unfortunately, this sort of doubt keeps many students and would-be production success stories from following through with their musical aspirations.
That said, there’s perhaps no better time to be a composer given the avenues for artists to promote themselves and put their names out there. Whether you’re losing motivation or are starting to doubt your abilities as a composer, keep the following tidbits of wisdom in the back of your mind.
Don’t Fret Over Your Gear
Perhaps the biggest mental burden for composers is doubts of whether or not their gear is “good enough,” especially if you’re strapped for cash.
Worrying about gear is little more than a mental roadblock: as long as you have the bare minimum to create music, you’re good to go. It’s incredible what sounds you can achieve by experimenting with free downloadable VST plugins and a bit of creativity. Despite popular belief, you don’t need a massive home studio or tons of equipment to be a great composer.
Strive to Finish What You Start
Abandoning your musical projects does happen from time to time; however, try to make it a point to finish what you start. This is a smart strategy for learning discipline in an industry that notoriously chews people up and spits them out. Following through with your compositions is one of the best ways to improve and grow as an artist.
Listen Carefully to Your Critics
Not all of your critics are created equal. Some people may indeed just be trolls or naysayers trying to get you down, the sort of people that you should obviously ignore. On the flip side, while positive feedback from your friends and family might make you feel good, such comments aren’t going to help you become a better musician.
Don’t obsess over either of these types of critics. Instead, consider how arguably the best feedback you can get comes from fellow musicians who’ve walked the walk. Also, keep in the back of your mind that having a thick skin is crucial to succeeding as a full-time musician in the first place.
Just Keep Creating
For musicians, the worst move you could possibly take for your career is to stop creating or take a prolonged break. Although there will be times where you might face creative burnout, bear in mind that you more performances and recordings you put out, the more likely you are to get noticed. When you stop creating, you instantly close the door on your career.
Network with Other Musicians
Composers should not be total loners or islands when it comes to networking. Whether you’re looking to score more live performances or get introduced to movers and shakers in the music industry, networking with fellow musicians in an absolute must. Strive to say “yes” to new opportunities and songwriting collaborations rather than brushing such opportunities off.
Don’t Be Afraid of “Shameless” Promotion
Finally, consider taking advantage of any and all avenues to promote your work if you feel like you’re going unseen. Beyond sites like Bandcamp and Soundcloud, also consider how YouTube is one of the biggest marketing channels for musicians right now. Having a presence on as many channels as possible spreads your reach and ultimately grows your audience.
Again, composing music is a viable career for those who persist through the tough times and never stop creating. Don’t let yourself be consumed by doubt: stick with these tips and understand that your big break could be just around the corner.