We all make choices and face many forks in the road that lead us to where we are today. Some of us take on family and full time marriage to a person we hope we can love for the rest of our lives. We raise children, work full time, buy houses and cars. We create moments of joy in many ways ~ we are all so different. We hope that our marriages will withstand the test of time. Many don’t. Life is a crap shoot really.
Then there are the folks that live life through full forces of themselves and make choices that the rest of us admire, possibly relish, but would never do. They resist the temptations of a monogamous relationship and choose a more nomadic path usually enticed by their artistic ambitions. Perhaps they become writers, musicians or artists of many persuasions but, suffice it to say that these complex choices provide the rest of us with a great deal of entertainment. It would be next to impossible to put so much energy into your art ~ travel, gigs, expenses, time ~ and maintain the traditional lifestyle. It can be done but, it isn’t easy. I can only guess that once you’ve decided to pursue your passion nothing else can get in the way. You really do have to commit to your art form; you can’t afford to do otherwise.
Music strikes a vital chord in many of us ~ the enigmatic thrust of a tribal force that sends us flying high in our imagination. We dance, listen and create memories with songs and stories. Without it, cultures would be lost.
Yet, does our society reward the burst of energy that artists repeatedly perform? They make our hearts soar and make us appreciate a wonderful side of life. Where would we be without the music of our teen years? The fantastic bands that played the big stages. The smaller venues with original songs, the Ryman Theatre. The songs played at different times of our life that made the moment special and memorable? CBC spent an hour yesterday, on the phone with listeners, sharing their favourite songs. Listeners often included details about why the song was important to them. It was fascinating. I’m sure we all have several stories we could share about times in our lives when music was really our only comfort! A monumental occasion, death of a loved one, you name it. There are exceptions ~ When my Dad died he was a huge force in my life and I couldn’t even listen to his music for almost a decade. But, I sure can now and the music brings me back to so many wonderful moments. Thank goodness for music and for musicians ~ who pretty much give up their lives so that we can listen. Yes, they are so fortunate to pursue their passion but it does come with a price.
So my next question is “Why don’t we pay them properly?” Sure, the big stars make millions of dollars but, they are few and far between and frankly are quite often just pop stars who have been created by conglomerates with an eye on the dollar. Even in my small hometown there are many musicians, actors and songwriters who entertain us and yet may live on the fringe of poverty. It’s not unusual for the general public to suggest that “They need to get a real job.” Steve Earle said it best in the line, “Everbody told me I couldn’t get by on $27 and a Jap Guitar.” Lucky for him (and tons of HARD work), he is able to say “Watch Me!” I loved that line during his concert!
The fact is, you cannot be great on your instrument if you don’t spend the time. Time is everything and your creative mind needs peace….
The biggest problem with human beings is that they have so much trouble walking in other people’s shoes. Musicians need security and a pension ~ that’s only fair. If a man (or woman – but usually a man!) has put his entire life into his music and spent way more than 10,000 hours practising his guitar don’t they deserve some stability?
My Dad always said, “Musicians are special people. They deserve our support.”