Making music is already a hard thing to do, couple it with building your music career , it just becomes twenty times harder. This perilous road to recognition may take a toll on you and your music which is not something you can afford to have.
To help you maintain or improve you and your music’s condition, here are 15 simple habits you can try incorporating into your daily life.
HABIT #1: PRESERVE YOUR VOICE
If you’re a singer then this is something you should really do. Here are some of the must-do habits you should remember and adopt to preserve and maintain your voice:
You need to drink a lot of water, at least 8-10 glasses of water a day. Water helps thin mucus and keeps the vocal cords lubricated. When mucus is thick, there will be friction on your vocal cords that may cause trauma.
Do Some Warm Up
Whether you may be preparing to sing for an audition, performing, singing in your home studio, or just practicing, it’s important to warm your voice up.
Just like how you stretch and warm up before exercising, you will need to prepare your vocal cords to protect it. Warm ups should be a daily habit.
Let Your Voice Rest
Just like you, your vocal cords need rest. Make sure you designate a time for your vocal cords to rest everyday.
Get Some Sleep
Lacking sleep affects your voice. If you’re sleep-deprived, you will have trouble controlling your breathing. Lack of sleep can result in fatigue which often leads to hoarseness.
Singing in a hoarse voice can cause trauma to your vocal cords. Additionally, when we’re tired we often turn to caffeine which is dehydrating on the body.
Smoke can cause your vocal cords to swell. Second-hand smoke is also damaging.
Learn Proper Technique
You need to have vocal training to maintain your voice even after years of use. Training will enable you to sing longer, louder, more frequently, and without easily tiring out.
HABIT #2: NEVER STOP LEARNING
Just like every other profession or career, you must never stop learning. Learning is not just for those in schools or universities, it is for everyone. And even if you already have your degree, there is still so much to learn.
You can start by reading books about music like books on music theory. If you’re an instrumentalist who wants to be a composer, then this will be great for you. Learning about music theory will help you compose your own music that will be unique from others.
If you don’t like reading, you might prefer studying other music styles or genres instead. It requires less reading and more observing and practicing. Don’t limit yourself to only a certain style.
Listen to and study other cultures’ music and create a synthesis within your playing. You can also incorporate a style into another to create a new sound.
HABIT #3: KEEP YOUR HUMILITY INTACT
You need to be genuinely humble at all times. This is not saying that you should not be proud of what you have achieved so far and not be confident in yourself and your own talent. This is to remind you that too much pride in these will get you nowhere.
Too much ego will adversely affect your growth and opportunities. It can also affect the relationship you have with people in the industry and you wouldn’t want that.
I suggest you get rid of any arrogance you have. Remember that you can still exude confidence through humility.
HABIT #4: PRACTICE KEEPING A CLEAR HEAD
The ability to keep a clear head is important if you want to be successful in anything you do. Being a musician can be very overwhelming since they will need to balance everything.
They’ll have practices, gigs, performances, recordings and on top of that, their lives outside music. This is why many musicians have been through depression and anxiety.
Keeping a clear head would be one of the best solutions to overcome these pressures. When you have a clear head you’ll be able to make sound decisions that would help you work effectively and focus on the activity you have at present.
Life will always be difficult so if you find yourself being overwhelmed with everything, just take a deep breath, clear your head, and relax.
HABIT #5: ALWAYS LOOK TOWARDS THE FUTURE
You must always look forward. Don’t get too attached to your past. The past I’m talking about here are those successes and achievements you had in the past. Maybe you’ve had a hit song that topped charts, or maybe you received an award from a reputable awards ceremony.
These moments are surely great, however, you must not get too attached. You should always look forward, or you won’t ever see a great future ahead. Music is always evolving and you must too.
You should not be stuck in your past glory but pursue another one in the present or in the near future. Always remember to keep looking and moving forward, however, it’s not too bad to look back once in a while.
HABIT #6: “MAKE SOMETHING EVERYDAY” – DocHoss
You need to make sure that you have some kind of output everyday. May it be a melody, lyrics, drum patterns, anything.
It doesn’t really have to be good or complete, so long as you put your heart and mind in creating it or them. “Even if it sucks real, real hard, make something every day.”
HABIT #7: REFRESH YOUR MIND
Read interviews, articles, and blogs about music production. The goal here is not really to learn something new but to refresh your mind of a technique you might have forgotten.
There are times that it’s something so obvious that you could have not thought about it.
HABIT #8: PRACTICE HAVING FOCUS
You should always be alert during practices. Musicians who are unfocused in performances typically do not stay focused during practice.
This lax mental habit during practice is brought in during the actual performance which negatively affects it.
To avoid making that mistake, always focus your attention on your practice. Don’t let your mind wander off.
HABIT #9: PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS
Paying attention to details is an essential habit that you must have to improve. You must strive for perfection if you want you and your music to continuously improve.
You can ask and consult those people who you can trust to give you good advice and know what they’re doing.
Being a perfectionist can be too hard to achieve so at least try to improve your skill of paying attention to detail. Having this ability will help you improve every idea or product you create, may that be music or merchandise.
Remember that being too much of a perfectionist is not good too.
HABIT #10: HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE
The road to a successful music career will never be all rainbows and sunshine. There will be struggles and there will be times that you feel like the world’s conspiring against you.
To counter these obstacles and thoughts, it is best to have a positive attitude. You can stay positive by having specific goals for your career and try fueling your motivation through the support of your family, fans, and others.
HABIT #11: LEARN FROM CRITICISMS
Criticism may be harsh for you sometimes and might demotivate you from your passion, but you don’t have to be. Try turning those criticisms into what motivates you instead and you will surely improve.
Always remember that criticisms are thrown to bring you down, but you don’t need to be brought down by it. You can instead learn from them, know what they think are your flaws or shortcomings and improve from there.
You will have to keep in mind, though, that all criticisms don’t have to be heard or read. They can be ignored too, if it attacks you to just hurt you and not help you improve.
HABIT #12: BE PATIENT WITH YOUR PROGRESS
You don’t have to feel like you’re not making progress. Progress is not a quick process, it takes time so you will have to wait and just do what you gotta do.
Real progress is not for the impatient, so you better lengthen your patience. Patience is essential to have some kind of assurance that you achieve your goals the right way. Being impatient will lead you to poor decision making which will delay or stop your progress.
HABIT #13: BE CONSISTENT WITH YOUR SET PRACTICE TIME
If you want to have better progress with your singing or instrument playing, you can start by setting a practice time everyday instead of practicing just whenever you’re free. Make sure you follow this through.
Be consistent about this and I’m sure you will see good results in the end. It’s a good practice of self-discipline, and that’s something that you will need to improve and succeed in your career.
HABIT #14: CONNECT WITH PEOPLE
In the music industry, your connections can be a weapon to help you through the harsh industry. It’s also a great way to explore other people’s music and improve yours.
Collaborations are a common thing in the industry. The more you connect and collaborate with other musicians, you will be able to learn a thing or two from them about instrument playing, singing, and even music creating.
Additionally, you can also reach new audience through their fans.
HABIT #15: GIVE YOURSELF A REWARD
Though music is your passion, there will surely be times that it becomes too hard for you. Also, being a musician is still a profession, it’s still work so if you better reward yourself still.
No matter how small the achievement you reach, you need to give yourself something. Maybe an hour of rest or a trip somewhere. This is a good way to keep yourself motivated about your music.
I hope these 15 habits listed here would help improve, not just your music but yourselves as well. They’re not super hard to do too, so you will surely be able to follow them. Good luck on your music journey!
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD, custom vinyl records and merch company in LA.