Taking a break from music is the same as having a holiday from a ‘day job’. It’s essential. Most major touring artists take time off after a tour to find some equilibrium again. The constant grind can take a toll and lead to burnout. Maybe you need to take a break? Even for two weeks. Or longer if you’re in need of extended recuperating time.
We know that the road to become a full-time musician is a hard one. So we’re here to tell you why you might need a break and when to take one. Some things we will touch on include:
– Is it ok to take a break?
– Tour has ended, break time?
– Are you burnt out?
– Writers block
Is it ok to take a break?
We do speak a lot about how to keep momentum going and hope to inspire you to release music at a steady rate. We believe in this completely and say it to those that have the energy reserves to do so. What about when we need some time out? Is it ok to take time away from music? It can seem scary as the music industry is fast paced and people are working day and night to get somewhere with their art. So, does it mean they will overtake you? Well, let’s think about it this way.
We are all going after our own specific goals, and we don’t want what others want. Not exactly anyway. So is it even possible for others to ‘over take’ you…probably not. It’s possible that if they kept working then they’ll get further with their own goals – and this has nothing to do with you. You can rest easy with that one.
The question might be better framed by asking ‘will my career unravel if I take a break’? A short break, no. A few weeks, still no. A few years? Then you’re in territory of needing to rebuild relationships and connections all over again. But if you need to take a few years off that’s your prerogative. Remember though, you have a talent in music and it’s great to share that.
During the the pandemic (the strange worldly event) we’ve learned to navigate life differently. We’ve played gigs from our bedrooms and sang with people over Zoom. We’ve started Tik Tok accounts and written a few songs. And some of us have been riding an emotional wave that’s left us punch drunk. Perhaps lockdowns are good for taking breaks – not just for creating from our homes.
If you’ve picked up a guitar and the song doesn’t play the same, or you are trying to write an album, but it feels forced – a break might be on the cards. If the thing that usually keeps you sane is now causing stress, a break could set you free. Sure, coming back to music after a break can be like the first run in months. The first one is the hardest but then you’ll get momentum back. Actually, running is much harder than music, so you’ll get back into it with ease. Maybe the fingertips will hurt pressing those guitar strings until the calluses return, but it’s worth it.
Here are some reasons musicians take breaks:
Tour has ended
Touring takes a lot of energy (physical and emotional), and a lot of time. Taking time out after a tour is essential so you can recover, eat good food, and tend to relationships that may have lacked the attention they needed while you were on tour.
This it hitting a brick wall type stuff (metaphorically). Low energy, no motivation, everything is a struggle. This is the perfect time to take a break. Obviously not stopping doing the day to day things like eating well and sleeping well and talking to people. Aside from taking a break, we have some pointers on how to deal with burn out. The sooner you can manage it, the sooner you can get back to music and what you love. Left unchecked it can spiral out of control and even impact your physical health, and that’s no fun. It makes for good angst-ridden songs however, once you’ve taken time away and recovered you can write that angry song.
*Sigh* the old writers block. It’s not really a block at all – it is the inability to allow flow. The flow of thoughts, of ideas. It’s not being able to get started, not because of a block, but because you’re not relaxed. Why are you not relaxed? Stress. ‘Writers block’ is usually stress affecting the brain. You know how lyrics and melodies can come to us as we fall asleep, or just as we awake, or when we are wandering about minding our own business, or eating ice cream…these are times when we are relaxed and the ideas flow. Thank goodness for voice recorder apps so we can sing our idea into the phone before we forget it.
These are unprecedented times – give us a dollar for every time we’ve heard that this year. Whatever you may think about how different countries are managing it doesn’t change the reality of having experienced lockdown to some degree, and possibly more lockdowns on the way. We know they are affecting all businesses and the mental health of many. We know they have brought live venues to their knees and closed some. This, even subconsciously, is weighing on our minds with regard to our futures on the live scene and in the industry. The industry has to change with these times and social media holds a lot of the answers. There are many ways to perform for an online audience and digital platforms like Spinnup can distribute your musical creations.
Sometimes though, we need to check in with ourselves and recalibrate. If music has become a weight or a burden, it’s ok to take time out. A couple of weeks is a great start and you can reassess from there. Maybe find other friends in the industry who feel the same way and take a break together. Choose a time frame and check in on each other – and at the end of the break, help motivate each other to create again. It’s not a big deal in the scheme of things to take time for you. It might even prompt a great song once you come back from your tropical island in your mind (or alps if you love a winter vibe).
As always, we as your Spinnup family are standing by for when you return from a much needed time out.