Creating music is an art form that requires not only talent but also dedication and perseverance. The journey from the inception of a musical idea to the final product is filled with challenges, with one of the most formidable being the completion of a song.
Musicians often find themselves chasing an elusive ideal of perfection, which makes wrapping up a song one of the hardest battles they face. Let’s dive into why this is the case and how musicians can navigate this complex terrain.
The Allure of Perfection
In the musician’s mind, the concept of perfection is alluring. They envision a masterpiece, a song that is flawless in every sense – the composition, the arrangement, the lyrics, the performance, and the production. This idealization is often what drives artists to push themselves. However, it’s a double-edged sword. The pursuit of perfection can become an obsession, hindering the artist’s ability to declare a song complete.
The Infinite Possibilities
With the advent of modern technology, musicians have a plethora of tools at their disposal. Digital audio workstations (DAWs), plugins, and virtual instruments offer infinite possibilities. While this is a boon, it’s also a curse. The endless options for tweaking sounds and arrangements can lead to “option paralysis,” where the sheer number of choices prevents decision-making and progression.
The Fear of Finality
Completing a song signifies the end of a creative journey with that piece. This finality can be daunting. Musicians might fear that they have not actualized their vision to its fullest potential, and once it’s out there, they cannot make any more changes. Additionally, there’s the fear of reception – how will the audience react?
The Comparative Mindset
In the age of social media and streaming platforms, artists are constantly exposed to the works of their peers and icons. This exposure can lead to a comparative mindset where musicians measure their creations against others’. If their work doesn’t seem to match up to what they perceive as successful or perfect, they may hesitate to finalize it.
Navigating the Battle
1. Embrace Imperfection
Recognize that imperfection can be beautiful. Often, it’s the slight imperfections that give a song character and make it relatable.
2. Set Boundaries and Deadlines
Limit the amount of time you spend on specific aspects of your song. Deadlines can induce a sense of urgency, helping you make decisions more efficiently.
3. Seek Feedback
Share your work-in-progress with trusted friends or fellow musicians. Their perspectives might help you see your song in a different light.
4. Focus on Expression Over Perfection
Remember why you create music. It’s a form of expression. Focus on whether the song captures the emotion or message you want to convey, rather than if it’s perfect.
5. Start New Projects
The chase for perfection is a formidable foe in a musician’s creative process. It’s a battle waged within the mind, compounded by infinite possibilities, fear of finality, and comparison to others.
Navigating this battle requires a balance of embracing imperfection, setting boundaries, seeking feedback, focusing on expression, and sometimes stepping away to gain new perspectives. It’s essential to remember that music is an art form, and art is inherently subjective and ever-evolving.