As a busy person I find that from time to time I have let my passion of listening and playing music go to the back burner. Yes, I actually work harder than I need to and sacrifice my own desires to get “work” done. Sound familiar? If not that’s great! If so, then here are a few techniques I use to get the juices flowing again.
- Purchase new music – Go check to see if one of your favorite musicians has put out a new album. I enjoy so many different groups and musicians that I constantly find new albums have come out that I have missed. Get a few of those on CD, vinyl, iTunes or however you digest your music. I sometimes decide to go track down and purchase every album an artist has done. (I am working on filling out the Joe Satriani collection as I write this.
- Lessons – If you are a musician yourself, go buy a new tab book, music lesson book, video lesson, online lessons or take face to face lessons and see what you can learn. Sometimes you won’t make it through the book/video completely but it will fire up the engines enough to get you at least back “in the groove”.
- New accessory – As a guitar player one of my favorites is to buy a new stomp pedal, effects box…whatever you want to call them. Then I can play for days with that effect. This has a bonus effect because I write new songs based on this sound or sounds I make in combination with other effects. It simply gets things lubricated and creativity starts happening. My wife is not as thrilled with this method because it costs more money.
- New Instrument – A more radical approach / upgrade to the above method would be to purchase a new instrument. My wife really doesn’t like this one as it really amplifies the money. She never complains though. Realize this could be a new type of instrument you want to learn or just a shiny new guitar if that is what you play for example. For me, less than a month ago it resulted in a Steve Vai – JEM 7WH by Ibanez. I am still coming to grips with it. But it got me back in playing again after months of near drought.
- Record your music – I have a bedroom of my house dedicated to a home recording studio. It is pretty complete actually. To go with my new guitar above I got Cubase 7.5 and upgraded the computer so I was back up to date. I had Cubase SX for years but I needed to upgrade the computer anyway, so might as well update the software at the same time. I also added EZ Drummer to the mix (don’t mean for these to sound like puns it just keeps happening). I have built this studio up over many years. But you can take a laptop, a USB audio interface, some software & a pair of headphones and get to it. It doesn’t have to be crazy like I do. I have a fully portable rig that is built on the laptop, USB audio interface and Mixcraft 6. It is easy to use and can go to the beach if that is what you want to do.
- Decide – The things you do in life that are important, fun, worthwhile or whatever were the results of a decisions. Maybe you carefully thought it out and executed your plan. Maybe it was made in an instant. But if you truly DECIDE that this is what you are going to do then DO IT! Tell your friends, your spouse etc. It makes it harder to back out. Then just DO IT! If you want to play music professionally that is your choice. I made a DECISION years ago that I would make music a hobby instead of a career. I thought that a yearly salary from an engineering job would work better for me than $14 per night and all the beer you could drink. I guess this depends on how much beer you can drink. 🙂 YMMV
Everyone has to face reality. I do. You do. I will not go into my personal hardships here. I am sure many have more than I and many have less. The point is I understand that you may have something that consumes all of your time out of responsibility. Still, as my wife points out, as individuals we all do better when we dedicate *some* time to ourselves. It keeps us from going crazy and often makes us perform better on the things that drive us that HAVE to be done. The balance between the needs and the wants are something we all have to work on ourselves. I would just encourage you to make SOME time for your music even if it is just listening to something you love for awhile.
It is hard for me to follow my own advice here, so I am not judging. My realization that I NEED to stay revitalized led to the formation of the ideas above. I hope this helps someone. Do the best you can.
Let me know in the comments below methods that you use to keep your musical passion going.