“You are born an artist or you are not. And you stay an artist, dear, even if your voice is less of a fireworks. The artist is always there.”- Maria Callas
The music business has taught me so much. I still am enraptured to see people pick up an instrument and play. The thrill of that moment never goes away for me. There is a primal and undeniable fascination with the act of playing music as well as a deep respect for those who do it as a living. A musicians life is not easy especially when performing becomes a soul and sole source of income. The musicians who are tripping down an easier path are day job musicians, no less loved or respected, but it is the artist who eeks a living out of CD sales, endless gigs and merchandise that hold a special place in my heart. Those who juggle a day job and playing music successfully are truly miraculous in my eyes.
There are those of us who started out playing music and let it drift away as we pursued that monumental things called Real Life. We may play only in our livingrooms now or perhaps not at all. Just because your talent is not a fireworks spectacle doesn’t mean it is less worthy or less deserving of some time and attention. Nurturing talent, whether old or new, opens new possibilities in other avenues of life. There are different synapses and brain energy devoted to weaving fingers to strings, keys and drumheads than are used to sell insurance, or mend an arm, or design a website.
A day job, particularly in this economy, is a huge blessing. But imagine a day job based on the winds of the season, the wiggles of the economy and the wildly unpredictable whims of people who make up a music buying or viewing public. Imagine basing a career entirely on the opinions of others while maintaining artistic creativity and control.
When you see a musician sweating it out on a stage in a park or a festival this summer, take a minute to say how much you appreciate the divine gift they bring to an audience. Nine times out of ten, they’re not doing it for their health or the money or the fame but for the love. Return their gift with your own gifts of attention, applause and appreciation.