Top 5 Benefits/Drawbacks of Being a Musician

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To most of us being a musician seems like a very romantic idea indeed. When we think of musicians often glamorous visions of screaming fans, flashing lights, orchestras playing in perfect harmony, rockstars with mad sex appeal, and lavish lifestyles come to mind. But what are the true advantages and disadvantages of living day to day as a practicing musician? In this article we will discuss the various benefits and drawbacks of being a musician.

Benefits

1. Playing music is soul fulfilling
Playing music is cheaper than therapy and a hell of a lot more fun. An emotional release and means of self expression like no other. Playing music can take you places in your own heart and mind that you may not have ever known were there. It can lift you up and help you escape when you're feeling blue, or give you a fun way to spread the joy when you're feeling good.

2. Sex appeal
Although this is definitely one of the worst reasons to become a musician, being a good player definitely has it's upsides when it comes to the opposite sex. Arguably musicians have more sex appeal than any other type of artist. You might be dog ugly, but if you can lay down a song and nail it for some people, odds are you'll catch someone's eye and you won't have much trouble finding a date.

3. Connecting with an audience
The feeling of connection when playing music for a receptive audience is like no other experience on earth. Having people cheer you on while you do what you love not only feels absolutely amazing, it prompts you to perform at your best and go beyond the limits of what even you thought you could do. There’s no place like the stage.

4. Meeting new people
As a musician you will meet and befriend people whom you may not have had anything in common with otherwise, fan and fellow musician alike. Music like other art forms can unite people from all walks of life, no matter their differences because it reaches people on an emotional level. Emotions go beyond whether or not you speak the same language, have the same colored skin, or live in the same neighborhood. Everyone knows what it is to feel and as a musician you have the gift of being able to help total strangers work through and understand their own feelings and problems through your music. And one way or another, they will thank you for it.

5. A focused, active mind
Being a musician will sharpen your mind and hone your focus. The intense mental stimulation and concentration playing music requires will activate and exercise your mind. It’s been scientifically proven that playing music can enhance the brain and sharpen listening skills for picking up the subtle nuances of speech and other sounds. Playing music keeps your mind strong. A strong, active mind will help you live a richer, happier, and more fulfilling life. Playing music makes you smarter!

Drawbacks

1. Your work is subjective
One of the most difficult aspects of being a musician (or an artist of any kind for that matter) is that what makes some people love you and shout your praises from the rooftops will make others hate your filthy guts. Music, like other art forms is subject to the opinions of the people experience it. It can be tough to take when you work very hard at something and pour your heart and soul into it, only to be judged, criticized, and found lacking. If you want to be a musician, it's important to grow a thick skin and learn to take the criticism along with the praise.

2. Training
There’s just no getting around it. Being a musician takes hours and hours of training and practice to become proficient and years to become really good. Great musicians make it look easy, but behind the glamour and romance there are years of practice and hard work. If you want to be a good musician, it takes more than just a burning desire. You will have to take action and put in the time. But make no mistake, if you truly want it bad enough, you can do anything.

3. Solitude
As with many other art forms, writing and learning to play music takes a good deal of alone time. For some, it can be difficult to balance making time for your passion and keeping up with your friends and family. For others, this may actually be viewed as a benefit. It’s not all dark dismal solitude of course. You can take lessons, play in a band, find a writing partner, or get out and play for people. But if you want to become proficient at your instrument or learn to write a good tune, you’ll need to sit down and work it out on your own. 

4. Lack of financial stability
More often than not, life as a professional musician is fraught with financial instability. Going back to disadvantage #1, the problem stems from the fact that your work is subject to the opinions of others and if you think it’s only about being a good player, you may be in for a rude awakening. It takes tons of promotion, hard work, people skills, and business sense to be successful as a professional musician. But there's no doubt it can be done if you play your cards right. For those of us only in it for the fun, no need to worry about this one.

5. Irregular hours
Going out and playing gigs by night, promoting by day, and long trips away from home while on tour don’t necessarily leave a lot of a room for a normal, stable home life. It’s a far cry from the 9 to 5 many of us are accustomed to. This may sound like a dream come true depending on your priorities, but for anyone hoping to have some semblance of normalcy or routine in their lives, being a musician can be a rough ride. There are a lot of ups and downs and it can tough to deal with the swings. Again if you’re playing music just for fun, no need to fret about this one.

Can you think of any other advantages or disadvantages to being a musician that you think belong in the top 5? Leave a comment and tell me about it! I’d love to hear from you.

Comments 21 comments

ng0208 profile image

ng0208 6 years ago from Kentucky

Loved this article! I've grown up as a millionth generation musician so I've had a lot of experience in this area. I agree completely with your point that your work as a musician is subjective, but you have to keep in mind it's the risk u take by putting yourself out there. The only thing in this hub i'm on the fence about is your thoughts on training. I've always kind of felt that music is a gift and a talent, you either have it or you don't. People who gruelingly practice are not a true artist at heart.


eddieolivas profile image

eddieolivas 6 years ago from Eugene, Oregon Author

Awesome thank you! I don't think you either have it or you don't. We are infinite beings, anyone can do anything they put their mind to. I think it's more like you either truly love it or you don't. You are right though music is absolutely a gift and a talent.


Splitty Booms profile image

Splitty Booms 6 years ago from Arizona

Nice!

Drawback #2 is why I no longer call myself a musician. I never put in the work to get better, so I knew that my heart wasn't in music. After so long, I guess one would know whether or not something is a passion or just a hobby...I had to realize that music is a hobby for me now. I feel you only deserve to be called a musician if you practice the art.

I wasn't gifted with the talent of a musician. However, I feel that if I practice like a madman at music to the point my skill becomes elite...I am only a madman. But what is it that I produce...what is the product of my madness? Music. Now, whether my music is art or just technically described as music because notes make a melody...THAT is the subjective part. So, some people will call me an artist, some will just call me Splitty.

Talks about the arts....I think in the end we have to realize that anything anyone feels and believes ends up always being subjective. Who can ever be right when it comes to creativity?

Thanks for this hub. I haven't been able to put together coherent sentences in quite some time:)


eddieolivas profile image

eddieolivas 6 years ago from Eugene, Oregon Author

Yeah it's true you've gotta love it enough to not care about being a madman. If you put it that way I'm definitely a madman without doubt :) Thanks dude.


bobman 6 years ago

I like this hub and I like what everyone is saying except ng0208. "People who gruelingly practice are not a true artist at heart". I disagree. Some do have the gift and even that doesn't make you a musical genius. Even gifted musicians have to practice as you say... gruelingly.

I've been a musician for many years and I think I have an interesting story that relates to this hub. I'm not trying to sell anything by leaving you this URL. It's and inside story that elaborates on this topic, it's titled: "Thoughts of being a musician. http://nortaoneblog.blogspot.com/

Leave me a comment.


OP4 5 years ago

SHE'S RIGHT THOUGH YOU EITHER HABE IT OR YOU DON'T. BE A MUSICIAN IS A GIFT FROM THE MAN ABOVE AND I KNOW BECAUSE I'VE BEEN PLAYING SENCE I WAS 3 AND I'M JUST 16 SO I KNOW


Nk 4 years ago

I love it. It help me at in my assigment


ash 4 years ago

that was really good i agree with the drawbacks!!!


Andrew 4 years ago

One other drawback is having the extra wife's. Some band members can be very high matinance. I'm pretty lucky, no super egos at this time


jim 4 years ago

A professional musician for 25 years, I still know how to spell.


James 4 years ago

You don't have it or not, i have friends that were tone deaf before they started learning guitar and they write amazing songs, google 10,000 hour practice if you think otherwise...


Annie 4 years ago

Another drawback may be deafness? I play piano in an orchestra and haven't had any hearing difficulties yet but I know a few who have.


Ricky 4 years ago

So.... creativity is a skill? If so, can you ever truly love your own art? Are there no further rewards strictly from the music you create that affect you?


Lee Gattenby 3 years ago

Very much disagree with #4 in disadvantages. My income is very stable and difficult to disrupt.


Rob 3 years ago

This is all comparing apples to oranges, on the topic of "People who gruelingly practice are not a true artist at heart." That's like comparing The Sex Pistols to Ludwig Van Beethoven. One grew up knowing music theory, the other was a group of outcasts. They both arguably did something constructive with the music. Jimi Hendrix played his guitar damn near everyday. Blues players (the roots of rock and roll) they lived with what they played at bar shows. It's primitive when compared to joe satriani, steve vai, but its all rooted. Robert Johnsons recordings sound awful yet the music, voice, and words are all genuine. It's based of feeling, emotions, and expressions. Some sell out, some buy-in, some are just straight shooters and thusly all are a page in history.


Kyle 3 years ago

I hate the pseudo spiritual crap people seem to tag onto music. Lol honestly anyone can be a musician. Some find it easier then others but everyone is capable of harnessing those 12 (7) tones to make a good song. Just practice A lot, listen to music A lot, and learn music theory. It really isn't as "mystical" as some of the people here act like it is.


Davey 2 years ago

I'm sorry, I'm 30 now, have been playing music since I was 3, when I first taught myself to play violin. I've since taught myself several, several others. I have a gift where I can pick up an instrument and figure out how to play it with ease. That doesn't make me a musician. I've also practiced in upwards of 5 hours a day for the last 15 years on guitar and singing alone. That doesn't make me a musician. I write songs and music all the time in different genres. That doesn't make me a musician. I can read sheet music more than proficiently, and also play by ear even better. That doesn't make me a musician. I'm a musician because all I want to do is play music, make music, and my entire life is geared towards it. Someone who just has talent for an instrument, say guitar, isn't a musician. They're a guitarist. Someone who's just a lead singer for a band (even if they assist in song and lyric writing) aren't musicians. They're vocalists. There's a reasons why most "professional musicians" are referred to as "Recording Artists". Musicians, real musicians are hard to come across anymore.


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xXAnonymousXx 2 years ago

As far as I'm concerned, if you love your music enough to enjoy practicing it gruelingly, you can call yourself a good musician.


Src 2 years ago

Is it possible to have a happy marriage and have a family with a very busy musician?

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