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Music, the Business

Recently I passed the 10th anniversary of being a professional vocalist (I get paid to sing, so by default I am professional). I was having a conversation recently with a friend who is a huge music lover and amateur musician, and in the course of conversation he mentioned how he loves to just sit down on his keyboard and jam away all the time, and how much fun it is. This reminded me of a conversation that I had with another friend a number of years ago. He is a drummer, and a very fine one at that. I was trying to convince him to play professionally and told him he’d do well. His response to me was that although he knew he was good enough, he’d never do it, because he doesn’t ever want to lose the love he has for music, and the fun he has when playing. I am not trying to suggest that becoming a professional musician will take away the love and the fun of the music, but it got me thinking. For most people out there, music is fun, and a diversion. For us professionals it’s a business, and something that even if you only do it part time, as I do, still demands a lot of practice and prep time. Without getting into the work involved with being a band leader (dealing with clients, hiring musicians, getting all your equipment and music books in order, etc…), even a regular musician or vocalist has a lot of work to do. Anyone who wants to stay on top of his profession must devote time to practicing, learning all the latest songs (and words), and doing the proper exercise to handle the physical challenges that will give you the stamina on the jobs you play or sing at. There is also continued training that many of us have to go through to try and improve. I can hear why someone would think (and how it is actually possible) that becoming a professional musician would take away from the love and fun of it. However, I personally have quite the opposite experience myself. I come from a family of professional musicians that have been performing for close to 40 years. Their enthusiasm and excitement hasn’t waned at all over the years, and in my 10 years, neither has mine. The adrenaline rush I get when I start to sing at a job is an unbelievable phenomenon. A doctor once commented that he is jealous of musicians. He has people coming to him all day telling and showing him their problems. We get paid to make people happy! What can be more fun than that?


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