A Musician’s Top 10 Worst Enemies

Whether you play in a band or you perform solo, you often get to deal with situations that can be pretty sticky and it will surely hold you back from achieving greatness in your career.

These “enemies” of musicians are points that many artists have named as their biggest struggle. It would surely be useful to have an eye on these red flags.

I also include some solutions that you can hopefully benefit from.

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The most challenging factor for musicians to deal with is their self-doubt. Self-doubt comes from little to no positive feedback or feeling like your career is standing still. It is often why most bands and artists call it a day and instead find another stable job.

Weapons to beat self-doubt for musicians:

  • Implement a routine into your schedule so that you contribute to your dream each day a tiny bit.
  • Find a trusted group of friends, family or other musicians to exchange and talk about your feelings.
    • Very often our inner circle have the power to build us up and motivate us to keep going.
  • Take enough breaks away from music during the year cycle so that you can come back refreshed and creative again.
  • Find professional coaching.

Take the time to scan through this helpful section called “Emotional Eek of Being a Musician” for some insightful tips and solutions.

An Underskilled Sound Engineer

The worst feeling being on stage is not feeling like you can trust the person who has the second biggest impact on how you’ll sound on stage.

Even though performing live is quite visual, hearing is a make-or-break situation that we often don’t have all the control over.

If you’re lucky, you’ll have someone knowledgeable and experienced, but quite often sound engineers are underpaid, and venues have to use whoever is available.

I’ve often had sound engineers who had no clue what they were doing and completely messed up a very simple mix. The microphone was way too soft and the mic’ed drums were overwhelming to the audience.

Modern solutions are:

  • Have your own sound engineer who knows your sound well and you build a relationship with.
  • Do your own sound if it’s possible and have a sound check.

If you have any other solutions to guarantee success with checking sound, please drop them in the comments below!

This post was written and posted by De Wet from startingmyband.com on 22.09.2023. The content was stolen from me if this blog post is seen anywhere else.

Sound engineer doing his job (Photo credit: Canva)

Band Members With Bad Habits

Band members who struggle to align themselves with the expectations and goals of the band are surely holding the rest of the band back.

These habits include:

  • Regularly performing intoxicated.
  • Disrupting band practices for inexcusable reasons or being ill-disciplined.
  • No sense of time or always being late.
    • I worked with a band member in the past that regularly just went AWOL and nobody could find him.
    • His cell battery always died, his car got stuck and he quite regularly just had absolutely no sense of time.

These characteristics are red flags and clear warning signs to your musical dream.

Unsupportive Inner Circle

Playing in a band and being a musician often means working at night and performing at awkward venues. We all need to start somewhere and performing regularly is the key to our success.

Nothing makes your career function and run so smoothly than knowing you have the support from your loved ones and your inner circle.

It is extremely challenging to feel held back and constantly experiencing negative feedback when all you want to do is perform live and inspire others with your art and musical creations.

Balancing your band life with your personal life is definitely a solution. I wrote a helpful blog post about How to Balance Your Band Commitments With Your Personal Life that offers sensible solutions to this delicate challenge.

Songwriters Block

Feeling emotionally drained and uninspired is often a cause of songwriter’s block.

As a musician, it is equally important to focus on your emotional and physical well-being than working on your career. Going for a jog or exercising a social hobby away from music can do your personal wellness wonders.

Try to include time for yourself in your daily routine so that you can balance out the workload. If you are a workaholic and you find it challenging to put a task down, try to listen to relevant information on a podcast to keep your mind occupied during training.

Taking a stroll for 30 minutes and coming back with new oxygen and creativity can progress your career more than just being stuck with a piece that you are still not progressing with.

Music can even be found in the silent parts of the world where we are more attentive to our surrounding.

De Wet Kruger

I recently wrote an article called Modern Methods to Avoid Songwriter Block that will keep your mind and creativity refreshed to maximise your progress.


I am aware of the struggles that many of our musician colleagues are encountering each day.

This is a shout-out to all you warriors for keeping their heads above water and for staying strong.

I am no doctor, nor am I a psychiatrist to give advice, but I am a musician here to listen and show empathy and respect to my affected soldiers.

This enemy is often a beast to deal with. I have so much respect for my musician peers and colleagues dealing with depression each day and week.

You guys are the ones keeping us humble, grateful and inspired.

Keep it up!!! You are loved <3

If you need any coaching or listening, get in touch. I am happy to help.

Bad Instrument Cable

An active scratching cable on stage creates a situation where it would be better to exclude that member from the live performance.

Of course, this happened to me before. As a student, when my money was limited and I could only afford the most necessary and basic gear, I could only push the lifetime of an instrument cable for that long until it started to scratch.

I muted my instrument and carried on performing, focussing on the vocals and crowd interaction.

Sometimes it happened during band practice, where it’s a little better than during a live performance, but still not ideal.

The non-negotiable solution is to have extra cables. Each musician should prioritise having extras of these basic gear that one cannot go without.

The Feedback Monster

Seeing the audience holding their ears while you are playing is death to any musician and band.

As you gain experience from concert to concert, you start to notice what could potentially cause feedback around your stage setup. Try to learn from them and set your stage up keeping the potential danger situations in mind. It will save you time and effort to have more time on doing a proper sound check.

One situation my band often had was dealing with feedback between the drummer’s microphone and monitor. It was a tricky situation and only the most experienced sound engineers solved this after scuffling and moving the monitors and gear around for an hour.

Because of this issue, I remembered the sound engineers who solved these issues and often contacted them again for other gigs.

The drummer with a microphone is a tricky challenge to monitor the feedback.

Stubborn Gatekeepers

Sadly this one is really challenging to get around. We don’t have the complete success of our careers in our hands. Convincing the people who can take you to the next level is probably one of, if not THE BIGGEST, challenge for all musicians.

We can definitely try to work on our own promotion. Especially doing things like:

The greatest recipe for success for a band or artist is consistency in performance and release, plus active interaction with your audience and self-promotion.

Pessimistic Nobodies

Take the glass filled with water example where the dirt resembles the negative influences and the water the clear positivity.

For each piece of negativity, pour some dirt into the water so that you see the difference and changes happening to the water.

Keep doing this a few times, until the water is totally brown and dirty.

Now start pouring new clear drinkable water into the mix, even if the cup is running over. You will quickly see that the water in the cup becomes clean and clearer again.

Glasses of different influences. Which one are you? (Photo credit: Canva)

The same goes for us as humans. Surround yourself with positive and like-minded people to motivate and build you up.

Be kind to the critics, but if the comment is not relevant, don’t waste energy or sleep on something that shouldn’t steal your positive energy from becoming the best version of yourself!

In which order would you place the above enemies of a musician?

Are there any other ones that you think are more important to mention?

Add them in the comments.

Until next time, Rock On!

De Wet

The dream started during a school tour at the age of 15 years old. One that might take a long time to reach. De Wet was 16 years old when he got his first bass guitar as a gift from his dad. The guitar was found, hidden under boxes. As if it was waiting for its owner to come by and pick him up. He practiced every day to improve and to teach his fingers to dance to the music. After finishing high school, he played in various bands where he collected valuable experience, before being signed by a record label as an upcoming band. He reached success at age 22 when he released two albums with his band, which also included televised music videos for publicity. By age 24, he co-started management, artist promotion, and booking agency for successful and upcoming musical acts.

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