Does “Make Your Own Kind of Music” Really Work?

Recently, I’ve been in touch with a lot of musicians who are pursuing some dream of success, or at least of affirmation. And a number of them are shooting themselves in the foot in more ways than I can count.

As you would expect, there are a number of youngsters who just plain don’t know any better and another group of youngsters who think they’re God’s gift to music and that anyone who isn’t in awe of their talents just doesn’t “get it.”

But I’ve also met a surprising number of middle-aged or even retired folks who’ve already been successful in some other walk of life, and think that “transitioning” into a music career should be “a piece of cake” compared to what they’ve already accomplished. As though a successful lawyer could become a pharmacist with just a few night classes, or vice versa.

Why do I pay attention to such things? For three reasons:

  • I was once a young person begging for guidance in my chosen field and getting no advice except that my music was “of the devil.” And I want to do better by the next generation.

  • A number of these people are my friends, and I hate to see them spinning their wheels.

  • Amateur musicians that I barely know are constantly asking me what I think about their music, and, frankly, I’m afraid to tell them some of them what I really think. But I don’t want to leave them completely without guidance or direction, as folks left me.

So I wrote an article that I hope some of them stumble across. The reason I gave this introduction the name I did was that I’ve recently run into a few folks who were truly resentful that “the music industry” didn’t recognize their unique talent “as is” and the people they turned to for advice just kept telling them to work harder, get better, and write better songs, without recognizing them as the obvious exception to the “rules.”

That’s only one of the issues I discuss in the article Stop Setting Up Your Own Hurdles, but it’s one that I’ve been running into a lot lately.

Others include musicians who stop improving when they think they’re as good as they need to be, geographic constraints, other interests sapping time from your family as well as your music, and emotional cycles that leave you less enthusiastic about your music some days than others.

You can blame the world for not recognizing your talent, but until you’ve stopped shooting yourself in the foot out of ignorance or stubbornness, nobody is really going to listen to you.

Check it out.


About Paul

Paul Race has been writing and playing all kinds of music since the 1960s, though he tends to favor acoustic and traditional songs. He has created resources like,, and to help other musicians get a good start on their own journeys.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.