Dear Creative: A Letter to Freelance Musicians

Dear Creative - A Letter for Freelance Musicians-19.png

Dear Creative,

Life as a musician is beautiful, messy, deeply fulfilling, and complex work.

It starts within—a desire to do work that matters, to make a difference; a yearning for beauty; a spark of creativity. It requires you to take risks, listen, adapt, and live with abandon.

It’s what all artists do, really. We dream, we try, we create, we innovate. 

There will be good days, times when you feel like you are making a difference, creating something beautiful, and truly serving people.

And, like anything in life, there will be hard days mixed in, as well.

There will be times when you feel powerful and capable - when you know the work you’re doing is significant and important. And there will be times when you feel small, unappreciated, and perhaps even invisible.

I'm here to tell you to keep going anyway. Make music and art with everything you have to give. Put it all out there. Invest yourself and your time in others.

The seeds you sow matter. You never know who needs to see or hear what you have to share. 

Some will criticize your work, your music, your ideas, your leadership. It may feel as if they don’t value your contributions or experience or perspective. Remember that your worth isn’t found in your work. Your value isn’t defined by what you do or accomplish or create. Don’t get lost in the shadows of other people’s opinions. Your work matters, your music matters. You matter.

It’s not the critic who counts. Remember why you started. Remember why it matters to you.

Music is a living, breathing thing - an extension of our very hearts. Treat it with care, but don’t keep it to yourself. Music was meant to be heard and shared and experienced.

Pour your heart and your soul into your music, but take the time and space you need to be refilled. Learn to listen to the quiet voice within you that tells you when to rest.

Things won’t always go as planned, and that’s okay. Sometimes, we’re better off because of it. Be flexible and adapt to change. Don’t get too caught up in "the plan.” There are many paths to success; some have yet to be forged.

You will make mistakes (music is an imperfect art, after all), but keep playing. Don’t let failure define who you are or what you are able to do. Don’t let it hold you back. And don’t let it keep you from taking risks.

Never lose your sense of wonder and curiosity.

Press on. Dream new dreams, face new challenges, overcome fear with boldness, overcome failure with grace. Work to create art and music and beauty every day. Build community, encourage one another, and empower others to share their art, too. 

At the end of the day, it’s a privilege to do the work we do, to create beauty and share our art with the world. Never lose sight of that.

Cheering you on,

Ashley