6 Proven Tips to Balance Music and Life
Imagine all of the music you could create and produce if you had no other care in the world. It would be pretty amazing, right?
Unfortunately, for better or worse, that isn't quite how life operates. Balancing life and music isn't as easy as it may seem.
Finding time to make music when you are either working a full-time job, in school full-time, a parent, or just simply attempting to balance all of life’s demands can be challenging.
Okay, "challenging" may be a major understatement, but you get the idea.
“What should I be focusing on?” can be one of the most difficult questions rolling through your mind.
Do you focus on the music production, the performances or your day job, studying for those late-night classes, or making sure you're not late for your daughter's recital? These are all questions you may be asking yourself and it can be understandably overwhelming.
Thankfully, we have a few tips and suggestions that will help you stay focused to work on music while in the studio.
How Can You Stay Focused on Music with a Busy Schedule?
- Set and Define Your Goals
- Make a Schedule
- Eliminate Time-Wasters
- Work Smarter, Not Harder
- Surround Yourself with the Right People
- Be Passionate
1. Set and Define Your Goals
What do you hope to achieve with music? Is it a hobby or rather something you'd like to make a career with consistent income?
Having these defined goals can help you shape your expectations and schedule.
If creating music is something more in the "for fun" category, it may be easier to squeeze time in when you have downtime or once you've completed tasks of higher priority.
On the other hand, if you want music creation to play a major role in your life, you need to take it more seriously and find ways to consistently inject it into your daily routines.
We strongly recommend having specific goals. Even if they change over time, having goals that are defined help you actively leverage your time toward meeting these goals, rather than just "getting better," which is a bit arbitrary.
If you're a touring musician, perhaps to want to book a 2-month long tour. If you're a songwriter, your goal could be wanting to write a new song a week, even if they aren't ready to be performed. If you prefer music production, trying getting three paying clients/bands in a year.
Once you have clarity in terms of your expectations regarding music, it is important to start creating (and sticking to) a schedule.
2. Make a Schedule
A good start to de-cluttering your mind when in the studio is to write out a schedule. Define what your days usually consist of and find time where you can regularly fit in playing music, writing music, or producing music.
Once you have a time set each day (or however often you choose), it will be easier to focus on that. When you don’t have a schedule, it’s easy to let other things get in the way. A big step, in addition to that, is the art of saying “no.”
It can become easy to say yes to people when you don’t have your schedule planned out. Once you have specified a particular time during the day to work on music, it’s much easier to devote that time and energy on music without some other activity or errand getting in the way.
Part of this process is attributing value to your music. If your friend wanted to catch a movie during your work hours, you'd reply, "no, I have to work," right? Why couldn't the same be for your music?
Think of all the times people ask to hang out or if you could help them out with something last minute. If you have music scheduled in it’s easier to decline and remain focused on your goal.
Another great component to creating and writing down your schedule is you may find better structure and organization in other aspects of your life, too!
3. Eliminate Time-Wasters
Many people may go throughout their weeks and spend a little bit too much time doing things that aren’t productive. We're looking at you, video games, and social media.
You can get caught in a trap of thinking you don’t have enough time for music, but in reality, if you cut out the things that are wasting time or not getting you closer to your end goal, then you would have that time to work on your craft.
Many people don’t realize how much of your day is consumed by social media. If you average two hours a day scrolling through social media, imagine what you could be getting done with music instead!
4. Work Smarter, Not Harder
Realize you can’t do it all – this is why it is critical to develop a schedule and prioritize.
Beyond scheduling and prioritizing, remember that you have plenty of tools at your disposal. Do you feel like you keep missing your scheduled practice/production times or you book sessions with clients and can't remember the exact dates or times?
Where the smartphone can be a downfall in terms of wasting time, it can be your greatest ally when it comes to scheduling. Especially in terms of growing your music following via social media. Let's be honest; your smartphone never leaves your side, does it?
Why not use that to your advantage.
Your phone's calendar is a great opportunity to schedule in:
- Event Details
This may sound elementary or a little obvious, but you'd be surprised how many musicians and producers don't utilize this simple tool. Try consistently updating your phone's calendar for a week and you'll be shocked how productive you become and better at balancing music and life.
Your phone is full of other great tools, such as a voice recorder to listen back to your music if you have a melody or lyrical idea and tuning apps. Not to mention GarageBand
5. Surround Yourself with the Right People
Being surrounded by people can be one of the biggest influences on how you live your life or even what activities you involve yourself in.
The great thing is, you can choose who you do and don’t hang out with. You should be aiming to be surrounding yourself with people who are doing what you want to do.
These people don’t have to be famous or experts. Even if they are just a single step ahead of you or have been studying/creating music a few months longer, you can learn something from them.
This isn’t to say that these friendships should be disingenuous or only used to get something out of that person, but to have an open willingness to learn from them and be around them.
Build real relationships with people and you will go far. Networking cannot be overstated in any aspect of life.
In addition, you don’t want to be surrounded by people who don’t support you or who are doing bad things in life. Make sure the people you choose support what you do. It’s easy to get distracted or steered in the wrong direction if someone is always putting you down, etc.
Important note: Don't mistake lack of support with constructive criticism. While you want people to be helpful and supportive, you don't want "yes people" around. Honesty is also key.
6. Be Passionate
This may be one of the most important qualities to have when trying to stay focused on music.
Being passionate will be the deciding factor of how far you are willing to take your commitment to music.
Without passion, when the music creating gets hard, you're not getting immediate gratification, and the temporary feeling of failure arises, it will be very difficult to push forward.
When you love making music, you’ll be fired up to get back into the studio when defeat gets the best of you. The next time you head into the studio, you’ll be ready to come up with something even better than you started last time!
Embrace Your Music Lifestyle
While making, writing, and producing music can be difficult to focus on when life gets time-consuming, it is possible.
Take our 6 life and music balancing tips to heart and you'll be on the right track to getting where you want to be and hitting your goals.
One great way to stay focused on music is by immersing yourself in a music atmosphere.
If you've never looked into an accredited music college, you should strongly consider it. The Atlanta Institute of Music and Media offers excellent degree and certificate opportunities for dedicated musicians and music producers.
These programs include the following:
- Music Production and Audio for Media Associate Degree
- Music and Technology Associate Degree with a Focus in Guitar, Voice, Drums, Bass, and Keyboard
- Certificate in Music Production
- Online Certificate in Music and Technology with a Focus in Guitar or Bass
If this sounds appealing to you and you want to prioritize music while utilizing top-of-the-line equipment and learning from industry-leading instructors, click the link below!