Worst Mistakes We Make As Musicians

Are you stuck in a musical rut or finding that you’re not getting called back for gigs? Sometimes we’re not sure of why our progress has slowed to a crawl or seems to have plateaued altogether. Here is a list of things that that are easy to change which will get you closer to reaching your goals. 

1. Showing Up LATE.

Everyone has been guilty of this one. For some people it seems almost impossible to show up anywhere on time. Being reliable and consistent is SO important in any field, and if you are consistently showing up for gigs late and holding up the show, it becomes a frustration to everyone involved. Being on time says a lot about who you are. It shows that you respect the time of your colleagues and your audience. If you are someone who is perpetually late, set your watch fast so that you’re ahead of your own schedule.

People who are consistent and timely are usually the ones who will be called for the next gig. Showing up fifteen to twenty minutes early also allows you to have some time to relax and get mentally ready for your performance. Be there. No excuses. Cultivate punctuality.  

2. Only practicing what you ALREADY KNOW.

I have been so guilty of this one. The reason we do this is because we want to play what already sounds good. We like it, because it assures us that something we do sounds fantastic. Don’t allow this to become a crutch. Push yourself out of your musical comfort zone. You will thank yourself for it later, I promise. It is amazing the progress you can make if you challenge yourself to learn a new song every day. Your comfort zone is a trap, so don’t stay there. 

3. Not exposing yourself to NEW music. 

The best way to get yourself out of a creative rut is to go out an explore new music. It seems obvious, but ask the typical person what they are listening to in the car and you’ll find it’s either their favorite cd on repeat or the same five songs that filter through the radio. Challenge yourself to listen to one new artist a day and keep an open mind about it. You never know where or when you’ll stumble upon your new band crush. 

4. Not recording and REVIEWING your performances. 

Everyone hates the way that they look and sound in recordings. I know I do! Find a way to get over this, because professionalism is truly in the details.  You learn so much from watching your own footage, so I cannot stress this point strongly enough. Make sure you are asking yourself clear question that have solutions, such as:

Can I hear all of my words clearly?

Am I singing with good intonation?

Am I making clear musical choices?

Is there anything that I am consistently doing that distracts from my overall presentation?

Do I have a good use of dynamics throughout my song?

Am I engaging with my audience in a way that they respond?

The list goes on, but you get the idea. Watch yourself objectively, and try to approach these things one by one. Even if you make just one positive change, it will be worth it.

5. Not asking for FEEDBACK.

Find a person who can tell you honestly where you can improve, and start looking to that person for advice. Ask them, “what is one thing that is currently holding me back?”  If you approach it that way, it doesn’t seem like you have an Everest of problems to overcome before you reach your goals. 

Even better than one mentor is three- get lots of feedback! We are not as self aware as we would like to be. If you receive feedback from someone, help them out as well. Listen to what they have going on and offer constructive support and advice, as this will help you network and gain respect in your musical community. 



Don’t be discouraged if you fall into any of the categories above. Take care of one thing at a time, and you will surely get where you need to be!

What are some of the common mistakes that you think musicians make? Let me know in a comment below!


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