I’ve begun work on an E-book designed to help musicians like myself that work professionally inside and outside the church. Here’s one section from the draft. If you have any commentary or suggestions, please send them in, as I am attempting to present real-life solutions for artists and musicians.
Stay Connected to Family
The musical lifestyle can wreak havoc on a family unit of any type – spouse, spouse with children, home with mother or father, etc. Because it requires long hours away from home, either at rehearsals, performances, or studio – it becomes very important for the church musician to make a clear statement that family comes first. When you rarely can sit with or worship with your spouse on Sundays, and you miss all kinds of date nights because of gigs, he or she can become upset and frustrated with the lifestyle choices your career necessitates. This goes double for kids at any age, whether you have toddlers or teenagers. While you may be chasing your dream for musical success, it will be bittersweet without your family to support and encourage you. By evaluating each career decision by their effect on your family, you can maintain the proper priorities in your home life. Should you take that Saturday night party gig if your spouse needs you to help get the kids ready for Sunday school? Should you be taking on an extra rehearsal when the kids don’t see you until it’s almost bedtime 3 or 4 nights a week? These decisions have to be made in the context of this thought – “Will this career / church / gig decision help or hurt my family in the long run?”
If you are trying to make a living with your music, you must first decide if that lifestyle works for your family, as it involves a major investment of finances and time away from loved ones. If not, you must make some tough choices regarding your career. This doesn’t mean you should give up on your dreams of playing music professionally. But I stand on solid ground by saying your family has to be on board with you as you make the scheduling and career decisions in church and gig work. To move ahead with your music career without staying connected to your family puts you in isolation where you will not have the support necessary to maintain your balance in life and music.