Some jobs, such as that of a musician, seem more glamorous than others.
Even this profession is not all that it’s “cracked up to be” though.
Learn the pros and cons of being a musician.
Table of Contents
- Pros of Being a Musician
- 1. Personal fulfillment of your passion
- 2. Pay for traveling the world
- 3. Flexible schedule (sometimes)
- 4. Variety of “gig” types and employment
- 5. Advancement opportunities
- 6. Meet interesting people
- 7. The whole “experience” of it
- 8. No penalty for trying
- 9. Become an inspiration to others
- 10. For your own well-being
- Cons of Being a Musician
- Pros and Cons of Being a Musician – Summary Table
- Should You Become a Musician?
Pros of Being a Musician
1. Personal fulfillment of your passion
Not many people have the opportunity to earn a living playing music or singing.
You’re fortunate if you have the chance to do this, especially if it is your passion and lifelong dream.
You’ll be able to express yourself through song and convey messages your audience can relate to.
If you’re the kind of person who’s always being told how “good” you are and wins contests, there’s a chance you could pursue music as a career.
You will need to keep up with practicing though.
There’s even room for you if you enjoy music but have more of a “learned” talent than a “natural” one.
2. Pay for traveling the world
At some point in your music career, you might have the chance to travel the world for concerts.
The company that sets up your performance schedule would more than likely pay for it, not you.
The only exception would be if you have your own “independent” label.
You never know where you will end up or what you will get to see next.
Becoming employed as a musician will give you this opportunity to have travel expenses paid for you.
3. Flexible schedule (sometimes)
Depending on where you’re at in your music career, you can pick and choose when you want to work.
You especially have control over where you sing or play if you’re going solo.
You can also work with your bandmates if you have any to arrange a schedule that suits all your needs.
4. Variety of “gig” types and employment
Becoming a musician sometimes gets a “bad rap.”
Right away, some people hearing that you want to pursue music think you’re trying to fulfill a “pipe dream.”
They might think it’s just a fantasy, in other words.
Pursuing music doesn’t have to be a fantasy, however.
There are plenty of practical career opportunities for people who want to get paid by playing an instrument.
Some of the opportunities you have include becoming a band or choir director.
Otherwise, you can teach high school or college music theory.
You could also combine your interest in music with a business administration degree and perhaps run a recording studio or become a “scout.”
If you also have a caretaking side to you, becoming a music therapist would also suit you.
Similarly to this, you could become an activity assistant in a nursing home.
In this role, you can encourage residents to join you to create productions.
Maybe you can invite facility staff to join in on performing live shows to entertain loved ones too.
5. Advancement opportunities
When you’re young, you might start out playing in concerts.
As you age, maybe you don’t want to perform anymore and would prefer to handle the business side of music.
That’s an example of how your music experience can open up career opportunities you never expected.
Another area of interest, by the way, is learning how to create audio productions.
This may even include creating soundtracks for movies, or it could even result in you making an entire film.
Someday, you could even manage artist music labels or start your own creative agency with your background.
6. Meet interesting people
Meeting interesting people is probably one of the best parts about becoming a musician.
It makes showing up for work worthwhile, especially if you’re in the role of “cheering people up” with your songs.
You’ll also have the chance to rub shoulders with other artists, producers, and other creative people.
This energy exchange will fuel you as you continue playing in front of crowds.
7. The whole “experience” of it
The energy exchange that you experience with other creative types and performers makes up an unforgettable experience.
You’ll always have stories to tell future generations after you spend some time working as a musician or helping others create and produce music.
8. No penalty for trying
Some people try out working as a musician for a while and decide it’s not for them.
Sometimes, even talented people just aren’t that interested in it.
That’s okay too.
There’s no penalty for trying it for a while and deciding you’d rather do something else for a living.
9. Become an inspiration to others
You can send positive messages of hope through your music.
That’s because the lyrics you sing and the instrumental passages you play have an effect on people.
For instance, your music can help your audience feel difficult feelings.
Otherwise, it can motivate them to action, or you can take them on a journey as you tell a story.
No matter what tone, style, or genre of music you play, you’ll inspire others.
10. For your own well-being
Music To Your Home says that playing a musical instrument helps you “refocus bad energy into something positive and enjoyable.”
As a result, it reduces stress levels.
Playing music can be your own personal therapy, whether you play professionally or not.
It may even slow down your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.
Cons of Being a Musician
1. Dealing with bandmates (and band breakups)
Sometimes, people think of how much fun it will be to travel with their “besties” on the road.
However, not many of them consider how difficult being cooped up with the same people day in and day out can be.
Yes, you will have that quality bonding time with your bandmates.
Some bands, such as Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, or The Cure have members who met in high school.
Not all bands stay together though, unfortunately.
Take Guns N’ Roses, Oasis, The Everly Brothers, or Sonny and Cher, for example.
Sometimes, it was for personal reasons, but other times it was because of a disagreement in musical styles.
In certain situations, it’s also that maybe someone wants to “go solo” and play their own music.
However, many bands don’t even last long enough to become well-known.
That’s because the members don’t get along well, or their schedules don’t coordinate well.
If you want your band to succeed, you’re probably going to have to take some communications classes.
Also, realize that pursuing music takes discipline and dedication.
2. No control over schedule, sometimes
When you’re not as well-known, you may have to take any gig you can get.
After you become more popular, you can choose more of the kind of music you want to play and where.
You can even decide on your style and start to create your own “voice.”
If you’re on your way to becoming a superstar, however, your “freedom of choice” is almost as non-existent as it was when you first started out.
The public will essentially own your schedule.
You may not have as much control over it as before if you become a “big” household name around the world.
They will expect you to take on gigs where they can enjoy seeing you perform or sing.
Even if all you do is online shows, they will expect you to be there.
3. Away from loved ones for long periods
Probably the saddest and most heartbreaking part about choosing work you love is the relationships you leave behind.
Some young couples don’t realize this before they get married, not understanding the toll that touring the world can take.
Take, for example, John Denver.
He and his wife, unfortunately, had marital problems because of the loneliness and ended up in divorce.
Johnny Cash went through a similar situation.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Families can make it work, but it’s rare to find a music family that stays together unless they are all on the road together.
4. Lifestyle temptations
Part of the struggle with being away from family or other loved ones is that it can become lonely.
You can distract yourself by partying, doing drugs, or getting drunk every day.
However, that lifestyle catches up to you, and your health suffers.
What’s more, if you end up being unfaithful to your spouse on the road, it could lead to relationship problems.
Otherwise, maybe you’re the faithful one on the road, and someone you left behind to tour cheated on you.
Either way, the temptation to get caught up in the lifestyle that sometimes comes with being a musician can have a detrimental effect on you.
That depends on the type of music you play and the crowds you prefer to associate with though.
You don’t have to get swept up in drinking and drugs.
Instead, you can network with other sober musicians who play and sing for the joy of it, not because of the associated lifestyle.
5. Opposition from envious people
Perhaps you have friends or family members who are jealous of your talent.
They perhaps will downplay your performance and downright treat you like you’re “no good.”
This can make you feel like you’re wrong about wanting to pursue music as a career.
If you know you have potential, don’t let anyone do this to you.
Besides, if you don’t follow your dream, you’re letting them have the upper hand even though they’re the miserable ones, not you.
It’s true that it’s not always a stable career or that not everyone will succeed at music.
However, you never know unless you try, and not trying is worse than trying and failing.
Don’t let haters get to you.
Besides, you can find ways to incorporate your music into a job that pays well.
When you find a way to work as a musician that provides you with a stable income, you can prove those envious people wrong.
6. Discouragement from “doubters”
Maybe music is all you have.
You haven’t known anything else since you were a child, and you have experienced some recognition for your talent.
Even then, some parents, teachers, or other adults you look up to can discourage you from pursuing music.
Some of the adults in your life mean well.
However, you still have to decide for yourself at some point what is right for you.
Maybe instead of listening to them entirely, find some balance in your life.
Continue to pursue music and perhaps also take on other employment.
If you manage your time well, you can make time for both and still pursue music if it’s your passion.
Just don’t give up, and prove the doubters and haters wrong.
7. Unpredictable income
It’s not impossible to make a living playing music.
However, it might not happen in the way you expect.
You have to be ready to change your course if your current musical career plans aren’t going the way you hoped they would.
For instance, some people have found more success in writing songs than they have performed.
Others have made it on “Broadway” but failed as rock musicians.
If you choose a course that is wrong for you, it can lead to unpredictable income.
Equally as frustrating, sometimes you can experience income loss when band members get sick.
Otherwise, maybe an event was canceled because of a storm, shooting, or other tragedy.
You have to prepare yourself for the unexpected if you decide to become a musician.
It may not always work out the way you hoped.
Pros and Cons of Being a Musician – Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Musician||Cons of Being a Musician|
|1. Personal fulfillment of your passion 2. Pay for traveling the world||1. Dealing with bandmates (and band breakups)|
|2. Pay for traveling the world||2. No control over schedule, sometimes|
|3. Flexible schedule (sometimes)||3. Away from loved ones for long periods|
|4. Variety of “gig” types and employment||4. Lifestyle temptations|
|5. Advancement opportunities||5. Opposition from envious people|
|6. Meet interesting people||6. Discouragement from “doubters”|
|7. The whole “experience” of it||7. Unpredictable income|
|8. No penalty for trying|
|9. Become an inspiration to others|
|10. For your own well-being|
Should You Become a Musician?
Deciding to become a musician depends on the type of musician you plan to be.
If you decide to stay local and play for weddings, clubs, or corporate events, you can still earn a decent living.
This would allow you to do what you love and help support your family.
Going on world tours as a musician is probably more suited for people who are single and don’t have a family.
On the other hand, some singing families may travel together.
It’s all up to you and whether you think you can work it out with the people you love.