Musicians: Preventing Burnout

Whether you are a rock star, an opera diva or a musical theater performer, your professional schedule is often out of sync with those who hold 9 to 5 jobs. Add travel into the mix and burnout becomes a reality. Here are a few tips to manage your stress and to prevent career-ending burnout:

*Look at the big picture. When you are first getting started, you probably accepted every performance opportunity that came your way. But that can be exhausting when you perform for any length of time. Try to plan your performances in large chunks of time, say 6 months to a year out. You will have an idea as to what’s coming and can plan ahead for life events.

*Build in breaks. Schedule family time, vacations and holidays into your performing calendar. If you are working with a management team, let them know you are serious about these breaks and do not give them up. If you plan breaks far ahead, there should be no problem.

*Make time for special projects and giving back. Whether it is connecting with fans, doing a master class or performing for a charity, special projects remind you how fortunate you are to be in a career you love and give you an opportunity to share your talent. You love music, right?

*Learn to Skype. Phone calls, emails and letters are all very nice. However, they cannot take the place of face-to-face interactions with family and friends. Skype is easy to use and is usually free.

*Bring your loved ones with you. Maybe your family can’t be with you on the road all of the time, but a vacation or visit planned around a performance can make all the difference and bring you closer.

*Manage stress. Take a workshop, read a book, practice yoga or do a hobby, anything that helps you reduce stress. You will feel better and perform better.

*Take care of chronic problems such as illnesses or addictions that can cause your career to come to a crashing halt. Develop relationships with your doctor and counselor who are willing to be available and make referrals, especially when you are working on the road.

*Plan for the future. How will you know when it is time to stop performing? Will you be able to retire? Find a financial planner whom you can trust.

*Build your network. Your performing schedule may be out of sync with the 9 to 5ers, but there are many others out there — musicians, actors — who are on the same schedule as you. Form friendships and supportive relationships with these people to make your career easier.

*Use resources. There are tons of resources out there for musicians. The 411 Guide lists many of them. The Emergency Musicians Fund helps classical musicians. The Actors Fund also helps musicians and others in entertainment. also lists resources for those music and sound specialists in the film and TV industries. There. Now you have four resources to get you started. Just one resource on the internet will lead you to more, so start looking.