Top Mistakes Musicians Need to Avoid

Article by: Carley Varley
VQS Advice Blog | Cover Image by Andrea Piacquadio

Learn how to truly grow your career as a musician today!

Today I’m going to be discussing the top mistakes that musicians make, this can be at the beginning of their career or something that they continue to do that won’t help their growth. Being a musician is amazing but it does have its challenges if you pursue this career full-time. These are things that I wish I’d known when I began my journey in 2018.

5.  Being too cheap on the important stuff

Learn to put value on your profession

photo by philip garcia

Often musicians don’t spend money when they need to, and as a result their content, music and image suffer. Many musicians are on a tight budget, there isn’t a whole lot of money at the beginning of someone’s career in music but what I mean by a mistake being made is that musicians don’t invest in themselves.

When I was starting out…

I didn’t get any professional headshots taken, I took pictures on my phone and said ‘that’ll do.’ Professional photographs display who you are and if they look good people will use them for advertising and it makes you look more professional.

To have a professional sound and a sound that you want,
you have to spend.

Another area is recording, many musicians try to budget with recording and don’t pay studios very well but they want a full band sound, real drums and then hours of mixing and changes. You can’t really cheap out in this area. You can learn to produce yourself, but plug ins can be expensive and once you’ve set up a studio you probably could have paid for the tracks to be mixed and mastered by a professional producer.

If money is an issue and you can’t afford these things, there are budget ways to get professional photographs, recordings etc, they are also grants and other things in place to help out musicians too.

134: Getting honest with your Mental Health for creatives VQS Studio Podcast

4. Stop being complacent!

Playing Guitar
photo by philip garcia

If you have an act, it is always good to improve it.

I remember when I became quite complacent in 2019, I had the songs I played and I made no effort to learn or write any others, as a result people did get bored of my act, or knew what I’d be performing. It is so vital to keep practicing and improving your skills as a musician.

If you play an instrument it is so important that you practice often, to maintain your ability and to improve.

Free mindset and productivity tools for creators
Subscribe to our VQS advice blog

3. They don’t fully commit!

man using brown and black electric guitar while singing
Photo by Thibault Trillet on

Reasons why musicians don’t fully commit to music:

  • They have taken on too many projects
  • They want five different careers
  • They focus too much on another rather than being a musician.

If it’s hard to focus on creating,
this can cost you your career and fans switching off.

In 2018, I waited to go into music full-time even though it was what I wanted and needed to do. I knew that once I pursued music, I would never go back. So I procrastinated. I wish I fully committed earlier, in order to have a few more years of experience.

What’s holding them back? Get to the heart of your fear then face it head on.

2. Trying to do everything!

What should musicians really focus on?

fun girl jump air sunglasses
photo by Anthony Fomin

Learn how to work on what’s best for your brand.

There are musicians who try to do everything and this is the last thing that you want to do! I have seen musicians who try to learn about five instruments, they say they can perform all genres and they try to attend every event.

Try this:

Focus on 1 or 2 things at a time and ditch the rest.

If you say you can do every genre…

this will leave fans confused as they don’t know what your particular genre is, this can also affect the algorithm on social media and events when booking you. This is fantastic when you are starting off however, if you work yourself too hard your voice will be tired and you’ll burn out very quickly.

It’s best to focus on what your brand actually is and go from there.

1. Not truly engaging with fans

It is important to value your fans as real people.
They will cheer you on your journey and you will be successful.

How are you truly engaging with your fans? Are they people or just mere numbers? Many top artists say ‘I’d be nowhere without my fans’ and this is true. They buy merch, concert tickets, they come to your shows and they support you!

Fans are vital to your career.

I see so many musicians who ignore comments, only care about likes and they end up losing fans because of this.


How will you use these tools and ideas in your artistry? I’d love to hear from you.

Article by: Carley Varley

Subscribe To Our Advice Blog

About the Author
LA based video creator, producer and media coach.
Scroll to top
%d bloggers like this: