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Create Space to Make Music

Starry sky over mountains with shooting star

“In terms of shaping our own future, spaces are key. We need to make sure there are spaces to be free. To be ourselves. Literal spaces, psychological spaces.” - Matt Haig, Notes on a Nervous Planet

More than ever, the important spaces in our lives are being filled up by inputs and items from the outside world. We have a buildup of clutter in our homes, our heads, and on our calendars. In order to maintain a meaningful connection with music, we must clear out space for it. This includes spaces that are physical, temporal, mental, and emotional. 

Where we do our music work matters. Being in an area that is messy and noisy makes it difficult for us to concentrate as we practice and create. It helps, then, to create a clean, organized, and quiet space where we engage with music. By removing distractions and having our tools and material ready for use, we can set ourselves up for success each time we make music. We’ll be much more inclined to get started immediately rather than allowing ourselves to become derailed by something trivial. As Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness explain in their book Peak Performance: “Ecological psychology suggests that the objects that surround us are not static; rather, they influence and invite specific behaviors.” Even a small space designed to invite creativity and focus can help get us into the right mindset to practice, play, and create. 


Regularly making time for music in our schedules is critical if we want to experience long-term growth and satisfaction in our musical lives. Letting go of activities that are less important will allow us to have enough space on our calendars to consistently connect with music. Creating more temporal space also means allowing for however much time it takes to get where we are wanting to go. It can be easy to grow impatient when we’re not playing or creating the way we’d like to right now. But musical improvement doesn’t happen overnight. Be sure to maintain the right perspective so you can allow your growth as a musician to, as Oliver Burkeman writes in his book Four Thousand Weeks, “take the time [it] take[s].” 

Practicing, playing, and making music are demanding tasks, both mentally and emotionally. Pushing ourselves beyond our current understanding and abilities requires sessions of deep, uninterrupted focus. To discover who we are as artists, we need to have the space to create, experiment, and gradually shape our sound. We must therefore be able to bring our full selves to our musical endeavors. To do this, we must be intentional about where we direct our cognitive and emotional resources, and we need to take care of ourselves—physically, mentally, and emotionally. The better we feel the easier it will be to give music our best. 

If music matters to you, then it’s worth doing whatever it takes to have the most meaningful experience with it that you can. Reclaiming your physical, temporal, mental, and emotional spaces from the pressures and chaos of the outside world is an essential part of ensuring you can live the musical life you want. 


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