photo of man smiling while practicing guitar“Meaning is what matters most in your day-to-day practice.”
The Musician’s Way, p. 312

Might there exist people who devote themselves to music solely for material gain?

I doubt it.

Rather, it’s the psychic income that we derive from our work that we most prize.

Psychic & Monetary Income defines psychic income as, “The non-monetary or non-material satisfactions that accompany an occupation or economic activity.”

Of course, we professionals also need to earn ample monetary income from our music making. But once our financial needs are met, material rewards bring paltry gratification compared to the fulfillment of artistic creation.

In fact, psychic income is key to our longevity as artists because if we cease reaping intrinsic benefits from our work, our motivation to create will dry up.

Generating Psychic Income

Essentially, we generate psychic income by doing work that we find meaningful.

Some artistic activities abound with so much meaning that we reap psychic benefits merely by doing them – e.g., performing for disadvantaged children.

With other tasks, though, especially repetitive or administrative ones, it’s up to us to make meaning as we work.

Daily practice, for instance, can excite or burden us depending on our attitudes toward it and our ability to do it productively.

Similarly, operating music businesses obliges us to execute numerous managerial tasks, which we have the option to do imaginatively or grudgingly.

Here, then, are 7 tips for fostering lifelong psychic income in the music profession.

7 Ways to Foster Psychic Income in the Music Profession

1. Be Visionary. “Your most fertile source of creative energy is a compelling artistic vision.” (TMW, p. 310)

2. Set a Schedule. By regularly practicing, promoting, and so forth, we enjoy the satisfactions of ongoing productivity.

3. Cultivate Positivity. A higher positivity ratio correlates with higher creativity.

4. Counter Perfectionism. The pursuit of excellence inspires us, but chasing unattainable perfection leads to burnout.The Musician's Way book cover

5. Self-Motivate. To keep our motivation peaking, we do well to regularly stoke it.

6. Experiment. When we go outside of our comfort zones, we spur ourselves to advance.

7. Collaborate. Few things in life surpass the meaning we can derive from collaborative music making.

Complementary resources can be found throughout The Musician’s Way and on the Creativity page at 

Related posts
Artistic Vision
Generating Emotional Depth
Playful Practice
Stoking Motivation

© 2012 Gerald Klickstein
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