Afraid of your musical burnout? 6 minutes of comforting advice

Recently a letter appeared in my email from a flautist I’ll call ‘Victor’.

Dear Jessica, 

I studied flute in the school and this year I will graduate from the Romanian music university from Bucharest. I am not graduating from the university in flute performance, but in pedagogy. Currently I do not feel any passion in playing the flute but I know that I can do more, yet I have no motivation to give the world my music. I don’t know why. 

For 5 years I’ve been playing in an orchestra… I do not play very much but I feel inside of me something that gives me no peace and does not let me get away from music. From the outside I feel like a stone, cold and distant, but inside I am like a fire and I know that I can do more than I am already. But I don’t feel any motivation. What can I do? 
Last year I bought a new flute, but he is standing for a long time in a case. Is there a solution for this?

Thank you for you answer, 
‘V’

It would have been really easy for me to write Victor something like:


Dear Victor, 

Look, sometimes you just gotta show up and force yourself to play–that’s what we musicians have to do sometimes.  Believe me– I know first-hand about what I have to tell myself when I don’t feel like practicing. So get on with it; start getting your money’s worth out of that new flute already. Chin up.

Good luck!

But… I don’t really think that this type of answer would have helped me much when I was experiencing my own musical burnout. Sure, we certainly need to show up to our art–even if we’d rather be cleaning hair out of a clogged shower drain, but it’s certainly not my final words on this matter.

Instead, I have made this little 6 minute video for Victor, and anyone else who might be in a similar spot.

 

I speak about

— ‘Ebb and Flow’ as part of the artistic process
— Giving yourself permission to let the flute go (if you need to)
— The potential need for ‘Artistic Rebirth’

Think of it as the chat we’d have if we were having beach-side mojitos together.

Jessica

P.S. And speaking of beaches, registration is now open for The Refreshed Flautist Retreat 2017…!

 —
Thanks to Mysticmama for use of the photo above.
Your invitation to join me for 4 Days of Fluting + Relaxation in Cornwall
Everything I know about receiving support (artistic, or otherwise)
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One Response to Afraid of your musical burnout? 6 minutes of comforting advice

  1. Debi Partridge February 18, 2017 at 4:52 am #

    I loved hearing your response to “Victor” about his lack of enthusiasm and being stuck in his creativity. Although not a musician, I am an artist, who also experiences some periodic burnout, even after painting 40 years! I have learned with time and wisdom, that the down time is a normal pattern, and during that time of resting my brain and my paintbrushes, it is a time of deep introspect. When I am ready to paint agin, it flows with concise rhythm and my work is filled with passion and usually some of my greatest works come after a time of total shutdown. I hope that Victor can find his enthusiasm again, and will find a totally new spirit to his flute playing. Your words were kind and geared toward helping him get recharged to give it another go.

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