Apparently stress levels sometimes rise in older musicians to the point where thaey hang it up. By older musicians I mean after age 45 years. In the abstract, "the aging musician" https://www.deepdyve.com/lp/ios-press/the-aging-musician-VYGFTo0Pil
What might cause stress you rise to the level where we want to hang it up? Here is my story.
In my mid-forties I found myself working in the corporate entertainment world. The world of household names, large productions, and real money. It was flattering to be there, in the beginning. Real money allows you to hire and play with the very best musicians. But, as time went by the triviality of hawking corporate products: cell phones, hardware stores, credit cards, and toothpaste did wear a bit thin.
Stress went up, way up. I started to dread the idea of playing. One thing that stood out was the level of fear in the corporate Canada. Everyday, or so it seemed to me, folks feared losing their jobs or reducing their future promotion potential over the success of a cocktail party announcing a new brand of soap. I decided enough is enough. I went back to school and earned an ARCT from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and re-invented myself as a full time piano teacher. Good move, less stress, more music, stable income.
Then, I took up the drums at 50. Seven years later I'm playing both piano and drums in the Improvisation Community in Toronto once a month, jamming weekly, and having a blast. I write this from New Orleans where I'm attending the Jazz Educators Network annual conference. Thousands of jazz fans, students, and their teachers. Tomorrow I attend a workshop on musician wellness, stay tuned.
Would I go back to full time gigging? No way. Do I miss it? Sometimes.
Other causes of stress
David Story: Professional pianist, drummer, composer, and educator. Well into his 5th enthusiastic musical decade, David works with adults pursuing musical dreams in the autumn of life, while he maintains an active presence in the Toronto arts scene.