MINDFULNESS IN MUSIC:
By Gem Boileau
“So how does an artist deal with the feeling of constant judgement? At times with the sound of self judgement in my head, why do I some days feel like I am running out of time to get to where I want to be?”
Anonymous developing artist, from Bristol.
Wow, thank you for such honest and thoughtful questions. Each of them alone will lead you to a thousand TedTalks, so let’s start with constant judgement. The life of making and sharing creativity as an artist like many things in life, involves sharing a piece of yourself. We make our art available to people to listen to, to look at and to learn from because that’s the way anyone else could/can benefit from our personal efforts. By doing this we also gain fans and followers.
With that in mind, we do need to cross the gates of judgement in order to give into the world. Amongst the social likes and shares, there are those nasty comments and dislikes from people that sometimes just do it for fun and do not realise that the person behind the art is a human being. Let’s be honest here, audiences and potential fans, as well as fellow industry peers, can be the worst at constructive criticism. With the shield of online personas and social media platforms, people can forget that what was created in the first place was by a person and not a robot or an algorithm!
With many wonderful shows out there, people like to believe in overnight success. The struggles, long days and commitment get overlooked and sadly quick, harsh judgement can be made. But please remember those likes and shares. That positive comment that is done at 3am. Celebrate that. Those people are the ones that understand and will be there at each and every musical or add to your creative growth along your journey.
The self doubt is present in all of us. It’s unfortunately another aspect that comes with the creative territory. Be mindful of your health and the pros that positive and objective thinking can bring. It’s natural that some things require us to show our vulnerability but they can actually also make us more emotionally exposed. Keep the thought in the forefront of your mind that we are just a vessel for good, creative music. If being creative is who you are, you can’t let your self-consciousness ruin the process of making and sharing. Focus on one song or track, one release, one gig at a time. Always feel you gave it your best shot and the rest will settle over time. As your fan base, reputation and creative status matures, so does your self belief and the easier it is to deal with the tough days.
The notion of “running out of time to get there” is one that again has sadly been fed to us (like many other expectations) by the media. They enjoy nothing less than a story of overnight success and the idea that someone young has become a star. Trust that often those people started a lot younger and had to build interest and recognition just like every other artist out there. They all had a body of work, a story and struggles to get there. Perhaps they may have had a string of good fortune to succeed early but bare this in mind. Our process is one of constant learning, development and exploitation (breakthrough), it’s a circle that is constantly present.
We are all on the same journey. Providing we take it seriously, remain committed, keep resilient and learn from every curve ball thrown at us. We will all get our opportunity. For some artists it comes early on and others it comes slightly later in their journey.
Promise me one thing: Don’t let the wants and desires pull you off your path. There are many great examples of worldwide successes after the age of 25, 30 or 40. Being creative has no age limit. There will always be that spark that lives within us and there will always be that one person or group of people that will listen, watch and understand it. That will never stop and neither should you.
“The process of the journey is unique for each artist. There is no set time limit, each person learns and creates differently but the desired outcome is worth the wait right?”