What You Need to Know About Taking Risks as a Musician

Ever wondered why some musicians succeed while others don’t?

There are many reasons for this. Some things are within our control and others are beyond it. One of the key ones within our control is the ability to take risks.

Some musicians tend to take more risks than others, which in many cases contributes to their success.

Before you take a risk it’s important to have a clear perspective on the expected outcome of it. In this article we’ll look at some of the things you need to know concerning taking risks as a musician.

Failure is Inevitable

All too often, musicians give up on their dreams because of failure during the early stages of their career. These failures can lead to discouragement if your attitude isn’t positive, which can ultimately lead to the death of your dream.

The truth of the matter is that unless you are exceptionally fortunate, your musical endeavors will most likely fail multiple times before you find success. These failures may come in many forms, from multiple sources, and they may last for years.

However, you shouldn’t view your failures in a negative light. If anything, they should motivate you to do better next time. Your failures should be taken as lessons on what doesn’t work.

Some of the most successful musicians of today had to go through multiple rejections before breaking through.

For instance, James Blunt was rejected by multiple producers as they thought he was a bad singer. He persisted and eventually had several global hit songs such as “You’re Beautiful” and “Goodbye My Lover”.

Don’t let your failures change you for the worse. Use them as tools to sharpen your skills and experience for what works and what doesn’t work.

Your New Ideas May Seem Foolish Until They Work

Being a successful musician often involves going against the accepted practices and way of doing things in your genre of interest.

Sometimes your ideas might be in the form of new ways of getting music to consumers, new ways of making money from your music, new ways of arranging songs, etc.

However, whenever someone tries to introduce new ideas they’re often met with resistance and ridicule. Don’t let this trouble you too much.

People are generally resistant to change and one of the ways they deal with it is through ridicule. People will often think you’re crazy, unintelligent or just plain silly until they see that your idea has worked. Then they’ll say you’re a visionary.

If you really believe in your new idea you should pursue it with passion until you exhaust it. Nothing new was discovered by doing things the same old way.

Not All Your Ideas Are Good

Sometimes in the quest to stand-out and get noticed you may come up with ideas that may be rather ridiculous or you may create music that just doesn’t sound good.

For instance, you may try to differentiate yourself by merging genres that just don’t go well together. Or the raw idea might be there, but your execution is so poor that people do not find it pleasing.

Regardless of how much you want a certain idea to succeed, you need to be honest with yourself and objective enough to know that some things just can’t and won’t work out.

Not all your ideas will be good. Knowing how to differentiate the good from the bad is a skill that many successful musicians possess. You don’t have to put out every track you make and you don’t have to execute every idea you think of.

Reputation matters in the music industry, so if you’re known for putting out more bad ideas than good ones people will generally classify you as a bad musician, and that can make your journey more difficult than it already is.

Put your best foot forward. Do not rush to put out content or execute an idea too fast without vetting it properly. Not all your ideas will work. But if you focus on the most promising, realistic, attainable ones you will increase your chances of succeeding.

Managing Your Expectations

So, the question is seeing as music is a field which is steeped in failure how do you overcome this challenge and succeed?

Firstly, it’s of utmost importance to manage your expectations of yourself and the outcomes of your risks as a musician.

All your choices are half chance, just like everybody else’s. So you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. You should hope to succeed but understand that failure is a possibility.

Don’t Let Failure Define You

Someone once said the only difference between those that fail and those that succeed is that the ones who succeed do not give up.

Persistence and perseverance are your greatest weapons as you strive to succeed as a musician. You should persistently:

  • Make new music
  • Strive to learn new things, by yourself and from others
  • Push and promote your art to existing and potentially new audiences
  • Try new ideas
  • Polish old ideas that failed

Do not let failure define who you are. Can you imagine if a baby decided not to stand because s/he fell down after trying once? S/he would never grow to walk, run or experience the many things that people do once they learn to use their motor skills.

Taking risks in music is no different. No risk no reward. No guts no glory. You have to go through a lot of pain, humiliation, and risk before you can reap the rewards of success.

Final Thoughts

Any art form in itself is risky to pursue because it requires the artist to make him/herself vulnerable. Music is not an exception.

If you’re going to succeed as a musician you need to embrace risk is part and parcel of the journey and failure is to be expected practically every step of the way.

However, you should not allow it to define you in a negative light or to kill your dreams. Instead it should build you up.

Failure is one of those things that you can only truly appreciate after you’ve finally succeed. So do your best to maintain a positive outlook on your journey.

If you truly love the music, you won’t view your failures as wasted time. They are valuable lessons that shape you into a better musician and person.