How to have a happy and productive career in music

Visit Us

These 17 tips can keep you focused in your quest to have a long and successful career in music

Have a happy and productive career in music

Pursuing a career in music business is not easy nor is it for the thin skinned. In fact, with all the challenges one has to face to get noticed, it can actually be pretty darn depressing. It’s the time of year for lists and goals, so here are 17 ideas to help keep your spirits high and your focus sharp as you pursue new heights in your career in music!

1) Feed your brain. Keep expanding your knowledge of your craft and the music business and better yourself every day. It gives a feeling of growth and potential.

2) Focus on your craft. Put in your time, and be great. Write amazing songs and be amazing on stage. Always deliver quality and never cut any corners with the work that you do. As Malcolm Gladwell says in his book Outliers: The Story of Success, “Be willing to put in your 10,000 hours.”

3) Give knowledge back. Volunteer, teach, and help others. It will give you a feeling of purpose and belonging.

4) Avoid negativity. Negativity is an extremely infectious disease, so try to limit or avoid people who are unhappy with their lives and careers, who have a false sense of entitlement, who are envious, and who try to manipulate and control. And stay away from the haters!

5) Know how to party. What I mean is, know when enough is enough, which could mean not at all. Restraint is power, and if you really want a career in music, you need to focus when it’s time to do your job!

6) Be healthy, eat healthy. The way you feel directly affects your mood, so eat healthy, be healthy, and find ways to be good to yourself.

7) Keep finances, bills, and receipts in order. The mere idea of being in debt can hang over you like a black cloud, so try your best to spend wisely and not to owe anyone anything, and make sure you save something for your future.

8) Keep your house clean and in order. Not metaphorically, but literally: keep your clothes clean, dishes washed, and rehersal space orderly. Peaceful surroundings make peaceful people.

9) Enjoy time with friends and family. Hang out with people who make no judgements and have no agenda for knowing you. There is nothing more empowering than unconditional love.

10) Set your own agenda. Don’t wait around on anyone for anything when it comes to your music career goals. If you want something done, get it done now. Be proactive!

11) Don’t be afraid to be by yourself. Go to a movie, take yourself out to dinner, treat yourself to a massage. Remember, if there’s one person you can always count on for company, it’s you, so be good to yourself.

12) Promote your music both online and off-line. Never stop telling people that you exist. Promotion is an ongoing process and not a one-time task if you want to make a living in the music business.

13) Hang out and meet like-minded people. Support other bands and form powerful alliances. Some of the independent musicians you know now could be the heavyweights of the future. What’s good for your friends can be good for you and your career in music.

14) Learn how to earn income from your instrument. Give lessons, play weddings, or produce local artists so that you won’t have to kill yourself at some random, energy-draining day job that you loathe.

15) Have a vision. Know where you want to go and develop a clear strategy to get there.

16) Wear a smile and be nice. Remember that people hire people they like!

17) Be grateful for loving music. Always remember that having a purpose in life is one of the greatest gifts that you could ever have, and if music is your purpose, embrace it.

Image via

Bobby Borg talks about a career in musicA renowned drummer, teacher, consultant, and Disc Makers contributor, Bobby Borg is the author of Music Marketing For The DIY Musician: Creating and Executing a Plan of Attack On A Limited Budget (September 2014, Hal Leonard). The book is available on the Hal Leonard website,, or at

The contents of this post are © 2014 by Bobby Borg All rights reserved. Not to be posted, printed, or used in any other way without proper attribution to Bobby Borg and Disc Makers.

The 90-Day Album Release Planner

Read More
Improve your chances for a successful music career (without compromising your integrity)
How to Stay Productive as a Music Composer
One Thing a Day for My Songwriting Journey
Being healthy on the road
Setting Your Goals
My Job Is Better Than Yours — aka The Starving Artist’s Silver Lining

20 thoughts on “How to have a happy and productive career in music

  1. Thank you Bobby, I am pinning this on my wall to read everyday; it is great advice and it’s very inspirational.

  2. Thank you Bob. A very useful straight from the heart material with 17 important Tips for us Unknown Songwriters and Composers to bear in mind.
    Will try and put these suggestions to practice .

    Kind regards

    1. Thank you Alex!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I so appreciate the attitude of gratitude! I hope to visit Brazil and speak about the music business one day! Cheers PS: The source of the above tips comes from my book Music Marketing For The DIY Musician Thanks.

  3. Good stuff Bobby ! I am doing most of the things you mentioned, so I feel I am headed in the right direction. You do have to have thick skin; that will help you to not get discouraged easily, weather your critics, stay focused, be patient, and be ready when your time comes.

  4. Keeping yourself interested (and inspired) can be a challenge, but it’s the best way to keep your creativity fed in the long term. Great article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *