psychology


Precarity and mental health

In a recent blog post I asked who is responsible for the mental health of musicians, and what the music business can do to support musicians in taking care of their mental health. The article was shared online at various platforms and I got many reactions. Thank you! You all agreed, that people are responsible for their own mental health, musicians too. Some of you shared personal experiences with depression or brain damage and being grateful for help from charities […]


Musicians and personality

In recent months, I often wonder what kind of personality fits best for musicians. I don’t know of any research in that matter. The Dutch book “Een kwestie van persoonlijkheid” by Jolet Plomp was very inspiring in this matter. According to Plomp, there is a core in your personality that is pretty stable. Part of your personality comes from your genes, another part is formed by your experiences and by you reaction to them. The 5 major personality dimensions that […]


Talent and effort

Many people still think that real talent shows, if you book great results in your field without putting any effort into it. And that if you are not really talented if you have to put much energy into it. Carol S. Dweck shows in her book “Mindset: the new psychology of success : how we can learn to fulfill our potential : parenting, business, school, relationships.” that this assumption is not only wrong, but also very counterproductive. She calls it […]


What you can learn from keynote speeches 1

The season of the music conferences has started again. Right now it’s Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, Germany, next month Womex, Amsterdam Dance Event and many more will follow. Most of them have several keynote speakers, highly successful and established people from within the music business to share their story and hopefully their secrets. Often you can hear really entertaining stories about the life of those successful people. Still, when talking about business, many of them try to convince you that […]


Music and emotion

Music is a shortcut to your emotions. That’s why I feel privileged to work with music and with musicians. You get a smile on your face when you hear a certain rhythm, melody, timbre, text. Three years ago, many people had this experience with the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Other songs make us sad and we cry. Billboard published in February a list of 50 songs that we can dance to while they make us cry. Songs can also […]


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Can the music business support musicians in taking care of their mental health? 16

Many musicians have mental health issues. Most common are depression, anxiety disorder and addiction. The singer of the first European tour I booked, got hooked to drugs again during the tour. While on drugs he got paranoid and accused me of stealing his money and lots of other stuff. After the tour, sober again, he apologized sincerely and wanted me to work for him again. Thanks, but no. Who is responsible for the mental health of musicians? The fans? I […]


Healthy habits

Habits are good, they are automatic responses and make us do things without having to think about it. We learn habits in our culture, like how close we stand to strangers without feeling uncomfortable, or what to eat and what not to eat. Some habits we can teach ourselves. When starting a routine, we can make a habit of it. It happens when you learn how to ride the bicycle or how to play an instrument. After some time you […]


Mental health of musicians in the news

The suicides of Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) last week and of Chris Cornell (Soundgarden) last May made me feel very sad. Some people used it to start a discussion about the mental health of musicians and of people working in the music business. Lisa Gritter published a Dutch article in Vice this week with a very personal story about her own burn-out and about the reactions of colleagues and others in the music business. It seems that many of us […]


Being a star – between imposter syndrome and diva behavior

I love watching the stars at this short, warm nights! For people, being a star means that you are in the spotlights, that others notice you, that you are famous. We admire you, you inspire us. All the admiration does something to you and your ego. Your ego is blown up big way! Like a balloon. That’s how people with an imposter syndrome experience it. They still feel the same as they were before they became famous. They are anxious […]


From reproduction through creativity and loneliness to leadership

When you look at animals, the success of a species is measured by its ability of reproduction. There are different strategies. Frogs produce thousands of offspring, but most of them got killed by predators (fishes) or by a harsh environment (drought). Elephants only have one calf and it takes almost 2 years before it’s born. Here the reproduction strategy is not quantity but care and longevity. The creative process of producing art is the reproduction that artists use. Different musicians […]


Care for yourself as a musician

Do you dare to take care of yourself? I mean, really take good care of yourself as a musician? It’s not as easy as it might think. If you want to take care of  yourself as a musician, you first need to know what your needs are and what is good for yourself. Your needs can start with the cup of coffee you need now and continue with the good rehearsal room. It gets more difficult with knowing what is […]


Apple trees, diamonds and straight edge

When describing what they do, some musicians compare themselves with an apple tree. They start with the blossoming enthusiasm for their music. They have to invest first, in order to harvest the ripe apples later on. That’s when they share their talent with the world. Other musicians compare themselves with a diamond. They want their music to shine. They want to show the world how precious they are. One important aspect combines both comparisons and it often forgotten: for the […]


What’s your recipe against homesickness on the road?

Have you ever felt homesick when on the road? When I was 19 years old, I moved from a small village in the German country side to the big city Frankfurt. I wanted to study at the university, more than 400 km away from home. I really loved Frankfurt, I felt liberated from the closed culture of the village I came from. Still, I felt homesick, especially on Saturday nights. I missed the social contacts at home and going out […]


Music and addiction

Two weeks ago I went to the ILMC conference in London and visited a workshop about mental health of artists. The topis was addiction in the music business, with musicians and with everyone else working int he music industry. The session started with the introduction of Music Support (later more), followed by a speech of psychotherapist and addiction-specialist Christophe Sauerwein. According to Sauerwein, about 15% of the population is receptive for addiction. While ‘normal’ people use drugs to escape reality […]


A fresh start – how to make it work?

A new year feels like a new start. A clean slate of 12 months. Somehow we all think that in the new year, we will be able to avoid all mistakes and to seize all opportunities, unlike previous years. Every year again, we truly believe that the new year can become different, better. Even after the hang-over on new years day we still believe in it. But how can it become better, if we think and act the same? If […]