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A musician...are you mad?

A career in music….Are you mad?

As a professional musician and a psychotherapist I’m lucky enough to have some unique psychological insight into both the desire to be, and stress in being.

From my continued research into popular musicians lives I sometimes struggle to remember why I was first drawn to this somewhat unhealthy industry. From my own perspective, the innate love and expression of making an emotion inducing sound was at the very heart of the endeavour. When times have darkened for me in my own 'industry experience', I always go back to these fundamental truths of ‘Why’.

If the ‘Why’ is taken as a core given then ‘what’ is it that can contribute to dampening this ‘innate beauty’?

When digging into this question I was lucky enough to stumble upon a book by Geoff Wills written in 1988 called ‘Pressure Sensitive – popular musicians under stress’. In his book he outlines what he deems to be the problematic areas for the professional musician;

1 Personality

2 The home environment

3 occupational sources of stress

  1. Performance anxiety

  2. Physical stress

  3. Physical danger

  4. Poor physical conditions

  5. Shift work

  6. Work overload

  7. Person-environment fit and job satisfaction

(b) Career development

(c) Relationships at work

(d) Organisational structure and climate

Furthermore, even with these stressful factors, why do I still hold this burning light for the illusive music industry…….I’m still enamoured by it’s glitz which I know is thin and at times superficial. I think I know why......

Are you a musician, how is it for you?


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