How to Improve Your Self Confidence as a Musician

Having a passion for music or art can be a beautiful—and sometimes difficult—thing. As a musician, you have a talent that you want to share with the world, and you have thoughts and feelings that inspire you to write music. Writing music and sharing it with those around you requires you to be very vulnerable and open about your experiences. 

If you’re an up-and-coming musician, you may struggle with imposter syndrome and self-confidence. It can be scary to share your work with those around you, especially when you’re nervous about receiving negative criticism. Even if you have already shared your work and received positive feedback, continuing to do so can be intimidating. As your work becomes more popular, you may find yourself receiving more negative criticism and comparing yourself to other musicians who you perceive as “better.” 

Of course, improving your confidence as a person and as a musician is something that’s easier said than done. When you have already had negative experiences related to your music or your self-esteem, it can seem impossible to take that next step in your music journey. 

Improving your self-confidence as a musician isn’t something that you can accomplish overnight, just like writing and playing music can take months and years of practice. Fortunately, there are a few practices that you can implement now to start making progress in improving your self-confidence.

  1. Avoid Comparing Yourself to Other Musicians

Spending time with other musicians can be a great way to stay inspired and motivated. On the other hand, it can lead to toxic competition among your friends. If you find yourself feeling envious of another musician’s progress, remember that each musician’s journey is different. Musicians come from different backgrounds and learn at different paces. You’re moving at the pace that’s right for you, and that’s very admirable. 

If you meet someone who says something negative about your music, it’s likely because they feel bad about themselves. According to a psychology study, people are most likely to judge you based on how personable and competent you are. They won’t judge you as a person based on your musical ability.

  1. Face Your Fears

As most musicians and artists know, creating your art is often the easiest part of the process. Sharing your work is the scariest because it’s when you’re most likely to be judged. Keep in mind that every artist and musician has to start somewhere. 

Why not try putting on a performance for your friends and family members or posting your music online? You can even do it anonymously. You might be surprised by the amount of positive feedback that you receive. When you feel anxious about a situation, eventually facing and overcoming your fear can help you feel accomplished. You don’t need to win an award to improve your self-confidence as a musician; you just need to share your work somewhere. You can even conduct research on how to upload music to Spotify through a partner like DistroKid. 

  1. Remind Yourself of Your Accomplishments

Even as an up-and-coming musician, you have already made great strides in learning an instrument, writing your own music, and perfecting your craft. If you have been struggling to learn a new skill, take comfort in the skills that you do know. Return to an old favorite instrument or song-writing technique to remind yourself how far you have come. 

As you continue to work towards improving, set realistic goals that you can accomplish every few weeks rather than one large goal that you can accomplish in a year or more. Set goals that are clearly defined rather than vague and abstract. For instance, tell yourself: “I will finish writing this song by the end of the month” rather than “I will be in a famous band by the end of the year.” You will feel better when you set goals that you can actually accomplish.

  1. Seek People with Positive Energy

You’ve heard of the “struggling artist,” but just because artists and musicians tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves doesn’t mean you have to maintain that vulnerability all of the time. In order to improve your confidence and take care of your mental health, it’s important to know when to be vulnerable and when to allow yourself to be optimistic and carefree. Spending time with positive, creative people who accept you for who you are and encourage you to pursue your talents can improve your confidence more than you realize.

  1. Pretend to be Confident

As the expression says, “Fake it ‘till you make it.” Maintaining this falsely confident persona can become tiring if you’re forced to don it all of the time. However, when you need to maintain a presence on stage, practicing confident body language can help you believe in yourself, too. This includes standing up straight with your shoulders back, maintaining eye contact, and speaking slowly and clearly.

If you have stage fright, practicing positive self-talk before you go on stage can do wonders for your confidence. Repeat phrases like “I believe in myself,” “It won’t be the end of the world if I make a mistake,” “I’ve worked hard for this and I deserve it,” or whatever makes you feel confident and comfortable. You will find that your confidence in yourself and your presence on stage influence each other, and you will feel better before you know it.

Huynh Nguyen

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