What Are The Main Risks of Becoming a Musician?

So you are thinking about becoming an artist and you would like to be informed about potential risks? Then you are at the right place since I am about to share some of the biggest risks involved in becoming a musician.

As they say: Every sport has its injuries.

Being a musician is an extremely rewarding hobby or job, but it also has some risks when you take it on.

Let’s have a look at these risks and how you can be aware of them.

Hearing Loss

As a bassist myself, I’ve been spending my fair share of time standing next to the drummer, where I did not always wear Noise Reduction Earplugs. I now carry some of these consequences where I experience the feeling of not hearing clearly anymore.

I also struggle to listen to a specific voice during a conversation full of a room of people. It simply takes extra concentration from my side and some perspective understanding to get a clear picture behind the conversation.

So please do yourself a favour and wear earplugs.

During band practice, I started wearing it only in the one ear facing the drummer. This gave me a balanced feeling on my vocals and I practised hearing myself clearer and better.

I also started wearing them before a show, which helped me with saving my hearing for the performance to be more on par with the tuning of instruments and interacting with the audience.

Hand Blisters

This happens when you over-perform when your body has not adjusted to the intensity of the performance or the occurrence of the activity taking place.

Especially at the beginning of learning an instrument, it can be painful with blisters on your fingers or hands. Wear these with pride and know that you are investing yourself in learning something special.

I’ve gotten plenty of blisters on my fingers and had to adapt the way I am pressing chords or notes on my guitar. That is probably the most annoying part of having blisters. They come when you really need to deliver a top performance.

A possible solution is to stay in performance mode and keep practising even during the phases when your schedule and bookings aren’t as full. This will keep your body growing and adapt to your instrument for better performance.

Lack of Sleep

Lack of sleep comes into play when shows run late, band after parties, running a second or third job, or

This is a challenging factor to manipulate other than taking regular naps, being self-disciplined and managing your time as well as you can.

It often happens that it’s not in your hands when you need to drive far and perform late, and get up early the next morning to go to work.

The worst is sleeping for 3 hours and waking up with a hangover. Be sure to drink electrolytes before you sleep. This is certainly the best-kept secret to get through your next day.

I’ve also managed to take a 20-minute power nap at work to get me through the day during break time. This felt like a massive relief and was exactly what I needed.

Relationship Issues

This is a battle between living the dream and living the reality.

It’s normal for partners and spouses to be a bit concerned about their future. It contributes to their sense of stability and future aspects.

If you have a concerned partner or spouse, the best that you can do is be open, honest and show empathy. Being a musician can be a very self-centred job, where we think about ourselves mostly, and that’s where the drifting apart happens.

It’s not easy for girlfriends and spouses to be with musicians because:

  • you are often on the road
  • Most of the work takes place at night
  • you get tons of social exposure with the opposite sex
  • you are on a pedestal for others to look at and be inspired by

Most people would find this challenging and wouldn’t want to be part of the competition. That’s why it’s really tough for many musicians to stay in a healthy relationship. They have difficulty looking after their careers and taking care of a relationship.

There are often relationships situations that flourish for a musician:

  • Couples that perform together
  • Manager-musician relationships
  • Musician-family member of the band
  • Couples that grew up together (used to it)
  • Couples that met at a gig (they know what they’re getting themselves into)

Emotional Challenges

There are a variety of them to name. I am no expert, it’s just what I have collected from my own experience during my time as a musician.


Doubting yourself never stops. I’ve even heard from artists with huge audiences, that fill stadiums that they continue to feel self-doubt.

Do as well as you can and believe that the work you are currently doing is for the greater good. You are making an impact on people’s lives for decades to come!


As a content creator, you’ll have the need to create something meaningful each day. The anxiety kicks in when you wake up and you plan your day to figure out what you will create. Whether it be music or social media content.

Most artists try to use batching as a technique to improve their anxiety. They will create enough content for social media to last them a week, within an hour.

Have someone making footage during your gigs. Share your backstage routine, and your sound check and have plenty of new images to post regularly, also to promote your upcoming gigs.

Build a solid routine to write music into your schedule. It doesn’t have to be every day but have sections of each week set out just to focus on music writing. Whether it’s with the band or solo, it needs to get done.


Artists stress about getting a sufficient amount of bookings and selling the minimum amount of tickets per show.

It’s a tough one because it’s only partially in your own hands.

I can recommend a post that I wrote about Steps to Reach your First Paid Gig – From Zero to Hero, which takes you through the phases of building up from the start to getting paid gigs. Perhaps it will help you to have the basis you need to relieve your stress and get the bookings you deserve.

I also wrote an insightful article about getting your venues filled for your gigs. You can find How to Build a Following and Finally Fill Your Venues here.

Lack of Stable Income

Especially for the first 2 years, or while making a name for yourself, it will be financially challenging.

If you have a day job and you can continue to pay for the basics of life, you are lucky and you should continue to keep your day job, even if it’s not as self-satisfying as it could be.

If a stable income is crucial to your current situation, I would recommend that you consider becoming a cover artist for more stability. By performing regularly at the same venues you will have a stable income and less stress about getting bookings.

My article about Cover Artist vs. Original Artist: Which Way to Go? would surely give you the direction that you need.

This post was written and posted by De Wet from startingmyband.com on 05.07.2023. The content was stolen from me if this blog post is seen anywhere else.

A cover artist with regular guaranteed performance times (Photo credit: Canva)


Many artists go through various types of addictions. Whether it may be:

  • Weed
  • Alcohol
  • Other more hardcore Drugs

Getting these under control will steer your career in the right direction.

I know about many of my artist colleagues that simply couldn’t keep it under control. They end up not showing up for appointments and missed plenty of golden opportunities that could have taken them a lot further than they are.

It also brings a dislike to working with these artists. They get excluded from fests and don’t get nominated for certain awards.

People want to associate themselves with a musician they feel connected to and not feel embarrassed by the behaviour of their idols.

Wasted Time

Of course, you are investing plenty of time into getting your project started and going forward. The risk is that all the work could go to waste if one should decide to give up.

The goal should be to invest your time into building skills and gaining valuable experience. In that way, if a project has failed or your band has broken up, you can take your experience to create a new and more original band.

Another solution could be to get more people onboard and have a team of people that believes in you. With this, I would recommend getting a music manager, which could also be amateur at the start, as long as they are passionate and presentable.

I’ve always preferred having a manager since it takes so much work and stress off of your hands. You can finally focus on writing musing and performing.

I can recommend scanning through my post about When is it Time to Find a Manager for Your Band? to support you with your decisions.

Wasted Money

Every band goes through the phase where you need to invest your personal money. It’s a huge challenge for musicians to get their projects financed and off the ground. Some bands never get out of the self-funding phase.

Try to budget and save money also for band practices. (Photo credit: Canva)

The best ways to save money are:

  • Buy used gear or only on sale
  • Budget each month and set a small amount aside for your band hobby
  • Have a band kitty
  • Have a visible Tip Jar at your gigs
  • Try to have band practice for free

Knowing that you’ve planned to save your money for the band, becomes an investment for your future. Even if the band goes to ground, you’ve again gained valuable experience to take yourself forward and join the next band with a wiser and more knowledgeable approach to help you make improvements on the previous mistakes.

In the end, all the above-mentioned risks can be solved with a change of mindset and of heart. Every action we take has a type of risk to it and we just need to find the solution for it.

The more you do it, the easier it gets. And sometimes, we need to make a mistake before we learn from it.

I always think about kids when it comes to risk-taking. They try to ride a bike, and even if they fall off, they just get up and try again. As adults, we might fall a little harder, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t succeed after trying a few times.

I can recommend that you read the blog I wrote about What is Stressful About Being in a Band to be more aware of what to look out for.

Until next time!

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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