Last November, I created a survey for creative and performing artists, because I wanted to understand better what the general problems are that we all face as a group. I was delighted that 56 people responded to that survey, and I’d like to share some of the results with you. Some of the results really surprised me! Here are some of the things I discovered:
The #1 challenge that creative and performing artists face is: time management struggles. I think that was the most surprising answer I got from this survey. I knew I wasn’t the only one who tends to feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day to do what I want to do, but I didn’t realize quite how pervasive this feeling is.
The #2 challenge for artists, according to this survey, is worry/anxiety/fear. If you suffer from excessive worry, anxiety, or fear, you most definitely are not alone!
#3: Pain issues
#4: Relationship difficulties
#5: Tie: Money struggles, tension
Other common problem areas that people mentioned, listed in order from most mentions to fewest:
- difficulties with technical artistic skills, tension, and stress
- burnout, boredom
- fatigue, lack of energy, posture
- depression, self-criticism, health issues, career frustration, lack of confidence
- overwhelm, too much work, perfectionism, people-pleasing
- discouragement, guilt, discipline, consistency
As a professional musician, I know quite a lot of other professional musicians, and so many of them are struggling (often silently) with issues such as those listed above. Most of them are familiar with physical pain (such as back, neck, shoulder, and arm pain), tension, and postural issues, as well as frustrations with skill limitations.
Who do they typically go to for help with these issues? Well, it seems to me that most professional musicians are unlikely to seek help with technical and artistic issues, preferring to hammer out problems alone in the practice room; but visits to medical and mental health professionals are common. Visits to doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors are often routine, as are massage sessions. Unfortunately, it is rare for these professionals to be equipped to delve into the other, more emotional and psychological issues that musicians face; so some kind of psychological counselor or therapist is often consulted for help with those.
Only in the alternative health world can professionals be found easily who are familiar with the concept of mind-body unity, and who dare to help the musician access the inner wisdom that knows how to heal both mental and physical problems together – because the holistic viewpoint does not see them as separate issues. The Alexander Technique is one of those rare approaches that helps clients become aware of the connections between physical ailments and the mental/emotional state.
The Art of Freedom goes one step further, and includes awareness of the spiritual and/or moral state of the soul as well. Nothing exists in isolation. Getting at the root of any issue, so that it can be healed in a profound and lasting way, means taking every aspect of the person into consideration. Light must be shined on the physical ailment, the way the person is using the body which may be contributing to the physical pain, the mood and emotional state that accompanies the pain, and the meaningful purpose hidden deep beneath the surface – the treasure to be found when the ego’s personal attachments to unhelpful habits are let go of.
I plan to devote my next few blogposts to some of the specific issues that people wished they could get help with in the last part of the survey. I’m really excited about offering the unique perspective of The Art of Freedom, which unites the mind, body, and soul, and I hope you will find some of my suggestions useful!
In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you think about the survey results. Can you relate to any of the common struggles mentioned? What do you do when you suffer from these kinds of problems? Do you go see a professional for help? What kind? Do you ever get help from someone who is skilled at addressing the mental, physical, emotional, and soul aspects all together? What is your favorite mode of professional help?