Why Do Musicians Play?
This is a serious question. Why would someone choose the life of a musician as their vocation, or even as a minor vocation. Having embarked on this musical journey unexpectedly myself in the later part of my life, I started thinking about it. Granted, I don’t have real data or even anecdotal evidence to support this, but my belief is that the reason most people who have chosen a career as a musician fall into three basic categories, heavy emphasis on most – the money, the attention, or self-expression and creativity. Let’s take a glance at all three categories::
There’s a joke that goes like this: What the definition of a musician? Someone who loads $5000 worth of gear into a $500 automobile to drive 100 miles to make $50. The sad reality is there may be more truth than fiction in this joke; yet, despite the fact that the math just doesn’t always make sense, most gigging musicians I know are still in it for the money. And why not? If this is how someone makes their living, they have bills to pay and families to support. Sure, many of them cherish an outlet that doesn’t require them to cover “Margaritaville,” but it is a job, and one that’s certainly one more fulfilling than bagging groceries at Publix.
Attention is a real human need, and a raised stage and some lights, even in the dinkiest of dives, can fulfill this need for some gigging musicians. As a musician gets older, I think that attention would become a harder priority to justify. James Toth who performs and records as Wooden Wand once said, “I realized I was getting older when I just wanted to be rich instead rich and famous.”
Artistically, self-expression may be the most valid reason to play music. Yet, self-expression is often nothing more than self-indulgence, and those musicians in this category sometimes develop a sense of martyrdom and are the ones least likely to play to enough people to receive any attention or money.
Candidly, most gigging musicians have a little bit of all three of the above needs, and that would definitely be true for me and my singing partner, Cindy Ballaro. That being said, perhaps because we embarked on this musical journey in the senior years of our lives, particularly after having achieved career success in other industries, another dynamic seems to have come into play with us.
From the time Cindy and I started singing together over four years ago, we knew we were both concerned about what’s going on in the world – so much fear and negativity with people losing hope that things will improve. From the outset, we have hoped that our music would have a positive impact and lift the spirits of those who experience what we do, and much of the feedback we receive tells us we are doing just that.
No, we are not a big-time entertainers (yet!), but we have tried to adhere to Theodore Roosevelt’s advice - “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.“ Our first CD, “Along the Road of Faith,” was met with critical acclaim by international music publications and steady sales. Music agents have told us the world needs more positive music like ours. The combination of that positive reinforcement has encouraged us to record a second CD together, which we are entitling, “Livin’ on the Faith Frequency.”
But we need your help. We are asking you to partner with us financially so we can make this CD a reality, so we can continue to put our positive music out into the world. With your help, we believe we can impact lives, give people hope by encouraging them to use faith as their primary vehicle to experience more joy and meaning in their life. Won’t you join us?
Click on the crowdfunding link below to make your personal investment to send a positive message.to a fearful, negative world.
Spreading seeds of hope AND FAITH in a negative world
“1st in a 3-part series written by Paul Huff”