Is there a culture of pushing through in music?

Last week was the first time in six months for me to work with an orchestra again and I have to say I’m still feeling it. While it was great to have more structure to the week and make music again, It really hit me how much energy it takes and how demanding on the body it can be to do this job.

None of us ever wanted something like the pandemic to happen I’m sure. It’s been a difficult time for a lot of people, I’m in no way trying to downplay the impact of the lockdown. On the other hand, I do think it did a lot of us some good to take a break. Think about it, how many full-time musicians would otherwise have chosen to take a half a year sabbatical?

I’ve talked with many musicians lately about the fact that some of their (and my) pain from playing an instrument went away after taking a break, not to mention they were able to relax a bit and get used to a different pace of life. It makes me wonder, is there a culture of pushing through in the music industry?

Maybe this is the time for us to rethink certain things and really start taking care of ourselves. Music is important but so is our wellbeing. How many of us have gone to work sick thinking that we had to? And however good our intentions were at the time, let’s be honest, how great did we really sound in that state?

The reality is if we keep ignoring our health, sooner or later we get to the point where it doesn’t allow us to make music anymore. I am hopeful though that we can start changing the narrative. Selfcare is not selfish and the fact that you’re reading this means that I am not the only person who’s invested in performance wellbeing.

Yoga is one of the ways that I take care of myself and I’d love to know, what strategies do you use? Share them with me and other musicians in the Wellbeing for Musicians Facebook group.