For Fun or Fortune: Why Are You Making Music?

Chances are if you're reading this you make music in some form or another. Have you ever asked yourself the underlying motivation behind this for you? Are you in it for the fame? Fortune? Or, the fun?  

Everyone is musical in some form, or fashion. Regardless of what they tell you, it’s there. Some people discover this later in life, some people never do. But, I believe it’s a part of who we are as a species. 

Now, discovering that music is an aspiration of yours later in life can be a little daunting. Computers have not gotten any less complicated, and music programs, despite the developers best efforts, can often be discouraging in their own right. Or, if you’re still in your youth, but lack the means for any music training, well, it can still be a rocky road. 

Thankfully, there are places like AskVideo.com that are out there on the net that disseminate regular chunks of information on each, and every music application imaginable. But, even once your get some headway under your belt, and a few completed songs, you will always run into this one question before too long.

How can I make this profitable? Or, how can I make this my primary source of income?

Music, oil painting, photography, poetry, acting... All of these skills have one thing in common: they are artistic means of expression. And, when you see people who have risen to the top of their trade in magazines, televised interviews, award ceremonies, you’d be a liar if you tried to deny that you wouldn’t want that. But, it’s when you start looking at the end result (award ceremonies, billboard charts, etc. ) that you can start killing your own progress... In a sense. 

Self-help

If you’ve spent any time reading books on goal-setting, goal visualizations, attracting success, and so on, you’ve surely found some good advice. Set up a visualization of yourself at the end, accomplishing what you want more than anything in the world, focus on this every time something drags you down, and you’ll get there. I really do believe this works for business people, sales people, accountants, etc. But, I think there’s an additional element to be added when it comes to people who endeavor in the artistic realm.

This element is something I always see in the eyes of friends of mine who have done well in music, art, and photography, and it always seems to be lacking in the eyes of those who want that success. 

What’s the element? Fun.

How Can Fun Make a Success?

Think about those interviews, those articles, those awards shows. Sure, all of the people that have reached the highest plateaus did their craft, and in most cases paid their dues. But, there’s always this common theme. Whether they’d be practicing their crafts for years, or for months, they always describe just going into whatever garnered themselves accolades as something that seemed fun, and exciting. In many cases, they never even knew that what they were doing would end up with the success that finally materialized. 

And, this is where rigid goal-setting, and planning your acceptance speech before you’ve even finished an album can really hamper things, if you lack this crucial element. 

The best music I’ve ever written came about in moments where I was just noodling around, having fun, and exploring. The greatest periods of success I’ve ever had in music were the periods of letting go and allowing myself to have fun, enjoying the ride. And, the biggest letdowns I’ve ever had were the times when I would starting focusing on making an album that will finally cut through that glass ceiling and finally earn the success I felt I deserved. 

Wrapping it Up

So, I’ll part with some simple methods that have worked for me. And, I feel like if I don’t pass them on... Well, I won’t be doing my duty as a fellow human being, or as an artist. 

Have your goals be your works. Finish your songs, photographs, art, and so on. But, create and complete them with a sense of fun and exploration. Don’t worry about who’ll like it, and who won’t. For every ten people that don’t, there are a hundred people who will. Be a little punk rock about it!

It’s okay to visualize your success at the end, as long as it isn’t at the expense of the moment. What I mean is, don’t let the end result become an obsession that robs you of the joy that comes from creating, playing gnarly shows and rocking out. 

You’ll know you’re on the right track when it feels like you’re in love. Seriously, that’s the best way to describe it. When you hear your finished works and you feel good about them, despite a blemish here and there, you know you’re on the right track. Be excited, be enthusiastic and share with others. This is how success grows. 

Will these methods ensure your success? It depends on how you define success. If you think of success as having a good time... Definitely. And, that’s why you make music.

Sound Designer, Musician, Author... G.W. Childs has worn many hats. Beginning in the U.S. Army back in 1991, at the age of 18, G.W. began learning electronics, communications and then ultimately audio and video editing from the Department of Defense. Upon leaving the military G.W. went on to work for many exciting companies like Lu... Read More

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