An End of Term Note of Encouragement for Musicians

Whether you are currently a music student, teacher, freelancer, or any other type of musician, you are probably feeling the stress as another year comes to a close. Compounding that anxiety is the realization that we are about to enter another decade! I’m here to reassure you that you are so close to finishing this hurdle in your musical journey.

I know that many of you reading this right now are probably burnt out and feeling uninspired. There never seem to be enough hours in the day to finish what you have to do, let alone what you want to do. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by everything, and you might even be wondering if music is the right career for you. After all, why bother in a career so riddled with rejection?

Because you are strong, and music is absolutely, positively, 100% worth everything you have put into it.

Unfortunately, part of your musical training is developing the resilience and determination necessary to flourish as an artist. No career path is without failure and rejection, but it seems that the arts have an inordinate amount of bumps and bruises along the way. Instead of succumbing to all of your perceived failures, think of them as if they are tests. You are being tested how much you want to share your art with the world – if being a musician were easy, everyone would do it. But not everybody has the determination to practice multiple hours each day, learn the intricacies of theory, history, and a myriad of other required skill sets, and engage on a lifelong journey in the pursuit of art for art’s sake.

If music’s got you down, by all means take time to reset, regroup, and repeat as many times as it takes to succeed in this cut-throat field. Give yourself time to mourn your losses, then pick yourself back up and plan how you will improve your strategy next time. Treat your insecurities as fuel instead of fear. Surround yourself with an army of allies to band together on your musical journey. Develop discipline and be honest with yourself when you aren’t doing everything within your power to further your career.

You are not alone in any of your musical experiences or emotions. Severe burnout, crippling self-doubt, and nagging insecurities are all-too-common in artists and musicians. But remember this – so is the euphoria of playing a Mahler symphony; the pride of seeing a student grasp a concept for the first time; the validation of reaping the rewards for all your hard work; and the unfiltered joy at being able to share your art with others.

I can’t lessen any of the stress you might be feeling now, but I can reassure you that you are not alone. You are embarking on a noble quest to share your music with the world – let that be your guiding light when the skies seem dark. Brighter days are ahead, and then it will be your turn to reassure other musicians that everything will be okay.


  • Greg Thymius

    Hi – I just have come to your site for the first time, via the Facebook page of nonagenarian clarinetist friend of mine (as we speak, he just has crossed the Atlantic to play a couple of concerts). This site is a wonderful place, and I look forward to exploring it. I have already read the Uhl Boot Camp article, which brought back memories of grad school and my wonderful teacher. He advised me to get them as I was leaving school, after having completed a year of study past my master’s. I wanted to stay one more year and get the artist’s diploma, but he said, in his gentle, very Contintental German accent, “It is time for you to go out into the world to see what there is learn next.” I am a doubler, and starting to re-connect with my roots, even as I continue to struggle with this persnickety instrument, 46 years after taking my first lesson (I’ll give you three guesses as to why I love the flute so much). A site like yours will be of great help. Cheers, and happy holiGregdays!

    • jennymaclay

      Hi Greg, and thanks for your kind words! I’m glad you found my site, and I hope it helps you along your musical journey! -Jenny

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