I’ve been a musician most of my life, so I know how this goes. I empathize with my fellow musicians, and I do my best to support their causes (sometimes my wallet doesn’t accommodate, but I try to go to as many shows as possible). From a non objective point of view, I also wonder how much these things annoy your friends, and exactly how much they are willing to put up with.
Most musicians know they cannot rely on their friends and acquaintances alone to develop a following, and its’ this kind of dependence that keeps young bands marred in a perpetual stew of self doubt. But once in the business most musicians transcend this rather quickly, and the truth comes into plain sight: To be successful, you have to really love playing just for playing. Whether somebody is there or not. Like the way a child is fascinated by a toy and never gets tired of it, so must you of your said craft or instrument. Secondly, although you might have a goal in mind, it’s really best to keep your goals as pragmatic as possible. Releasing the new album, finishing a song, or playing a certain amount of shows. Once you start wandering into “We are going to be famous” territory, you have already set yourself up for disappointment.
Now I know none of this is news to my musicians friends, and it’s probably pretty obvious to many of my friends who aren’t musicians. But, as with most things in the arts, what really is tough is keeping in mind that the reward for what you are doing is happening as you are doing it. This is it.. Right now. Not later, when you reach 10,000 followers, not when your album is done or that show is played, because that moment will fade, or better put, it’s a moment that’s a part of a reward that is perpetual.
As with most things in the arts, it’s a struggle. It’s one thing when your reward for hard work is a corner office with an extra 25K a year, but when you’re working hard on your craft for years, even decades, its’ really hard to keep in mind that you’re actually livin’ that dream. Of course this applies not only to music, but to many arts. Music, food, design, painting, writing etc..
The amount of respect I have for the musician who plays the same songs to a crowd of 3 every single night for little or no money is tremendous. Or the aspiring pastry chef who has baked the same cake over and over again, only to be the only one to have tried it’s magnificence. Or the artist who works forever on a painting, only to have it sit in a gallery for a month, and then disappear into their back catalog.
We all work hard at what we love. And although people will tell you it is, sometimes just loving it isn’t enough. This is where you have to be strong. Because your friends aren’t always going to come out to your shows.
So when your friend tells you about something they are working on, or invites to you to their concert, opening night of their play, or a gallery showing, go. Your support might be exponential to what you think it really is. You might be the only friend to have showed up. You might be the only person to have showed up. I know that has been the case for me many times. Your friends appreciate it more than you realize. It’s this kind of thing that makes the world go round. Let’s keep it going.
By; Randy Nieto