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With the new year underway, we know you’re probably fully recovered from the holiday season and ready to get back into the routines you know and love. For many people, a new year is the symbol for a clean slate and new opportunities. That’s why we so often make resolutions concerning the things we’d like to change about our lives. Just like any other group, Christian musicians are possibly setting goals for themselves. These can be as simple as eating healthier or as specific as training for a particular marathon. No matter what goals you’ve crafted for yourself in the new year, we want you to know that some resolutions aren’t worth obsessing over. Are they good ideas? You bet, but it’s easy to get carried away. Here are ten resolutions Christian musicians won’t regret breaking this year.
Practicing Every Day
Even the person with the least musical knowledge can tell you that practice is important. So much so, you may be resolved to practice every single day of the new year. That’s certainly a lofty goal that we applaud, but the sad truth is that you’re going to miss a day here and there. Maybe you go on a family vacation and you can’t bring your instrument along or you catch the flu and you’re unable to get out of bed and play. Whatever happens, you’re going to be really made with yourself when you realize you have broken your streak. If you want to make the goal of practicing every day, just be sure to give yourself a little grace. What’s more important than counting consecutive days is being consistent overall and making good use of your time.
Staying in Your Wheelhouse
Some Christian musicians feel most at home in a single genre. It could be praise and worship or it might be rock and roll. Whichever place you feel if your groove, you could be tempted to just stick with what you know. This sounds like good advice at first, but remember that most of the great musicians were people who could blend genres and find something they loved in all kinds of music. Don’t be afraid of venturing out while still having that sturdy base where you feel most comfortable.
Only Thinking About the Distant Future
Setting goals is important, not only as a musician, but as a growing person. If you’re the kind of person who makes New Year’s resolutions, then you like creating a measurable path to success. Just make sure that the future you’re envisioning for yourself isn’t some pie-in-the-sky dream that keeps your head in the clouds instead of living in the real world. Don’t solely think about the arena shows you’re going to sell out. Try working toward the next gig that’s in front of you.
Buying all the Gear You Need
This is especially difficult to hear for Christian musicians who are just starting out, but having the right gear isn’t what’s separating you from the top of the Billboard charts. While you should certainly try to get the cables, pedals, and amps you need to do what you love, we caution you from going off the deep end when it comes to buying equipment. Work on your music and forget about keeping up with the Joneses.
Recording an Album
Wait, isn’t this an important step in establishing yourself as an artist? Absolutely. Not everyone who’s written original material, though, needs to run out and record an album as fast as they can. You can only get so many sessions in a studio and you don’t want to make something you’ll regret two or three years down the road. If you’ve perfected your sound and this is the perfect time for you to make an album, then by all means, go make a record. Hold high standards for what you’re willing to create, whether it’s this year or further on down the line.
Trusting Your Feelings as Christian Musicians
The world is going to tell you to “follow your heart.” Each year, millions of movies, songs, and books will preach the message of listening to that little voice inside of you and making all of your important decisions based on what it has to say. As Christians, however, we know there is a better source of wisdom whom we can consult through prayer and reading the Bible. It’s true that many choices will come down to what sounds best to us, but those decisions are much better handled through the guidance of the Holy Spirit than by trusting our feelings.
Being Too Connected on Social Media
Of course, when you’re setting this particular resolution up for yourself, the idea is that you want to increase your online footprint so that audiences can find your music and you can make the important connections with the big money people. It’s great to provide helpful information and samples of your work online in places where people can find it. Our words of caution here consist of (1) not getting too wrapped up in the numbers and (2) prioritizing your music over a ridiculous number of networking opportunities. Find a balance between advertising your abilities and being a true musician.
Taking Every Gig Offered
Whether you’re a young musician looking to make a name for herself or a grown adult trying to pay the bills, be careful taking every gig that’s out there. Your music may not work in every type of setting and there are some places you may conflicted about playing due to your religious convictions. Be open to playing to different kinds of crowds, but also do your homework and think through bookings.
Choosing Your Music Over Everything Else
This is the big one for many Christian musicians. A new year begins and you’re thinking, “Nothing’s going to get in my way now.” Dedicating yourself 100% to music sounds like you’re being a hard worker who’s willing to sacrifice it all for what you love. The truth, however, is that you need to find the right balance in your life. Between church, family, and everything else that’s worth your time, music can’t have it all. Learn to prioritize what’s important so that this New Year’s resolution doesn’t lead you down the wrong path.
Stepping Away from Your Christian Community
Part of the New Year’s resolution idea is that you’re stepping out and trying new things. What you have to watch out for is becoming detached from what makes you who you are. Beyond just maintaining your personal faith, that means reinforcing established friendships, spending time with family, and consistently attending a Bible-believing church. When you have these things anchoring the core of who you are, you can feel more confident in branching out and doing new things.
We hope these words of advice help all of the Christian musicians out there as they navigate the new year. Even if you haven’t set specific resolutions for the year (or if you already broke your original one) think about what you’d like to accomplish in the near future. Don’t worry about being perfect and don’t let your fear of failure keep you from walking through the door of opportunity. Just stay close to the Lord and work to the best of your ability.
Christian musicians between the ages of 13 and 19 who are looking to improve upon their skills and have an amazing summer experience should check out Camp Electric. Our instructors come from today’s biggest Christian bands and they offer so much for the hundreds of kids who join us each year. Between classroom sessions, nightly concerts, and insightful workshops, there is much to learn and love at Camp Electric. Find out how to become one of our next students be clicking on the link below.