This morning I sat down with my cup of coffee and read a really inspiring article: Get Real about Music Careers. This article does not hide the idea that becoming a musician is not as glamourous as it sounds. Not all highly-qualified musicians make it to the very few coveted orchestra positions or studio recording work. We continue our craft by “getting by” with the other various work that fulfills us but does not always pay the bills.
When I was a child, my mother sent me to piano lessons. It turns out that I really like the piano but I decided back then that I wanted to play the harp instead. So at age 9, I asked to play the harp. Not knowing why I wanted to do this, I still ‘wanted’ to. There were no dreams or aspirations towards becoming the top performing harpist but never-the-less it looks exciting. By age 11, I still wanted to do this and it had taken my parents that long to find a teacher and get set up. My first teacher, Dominique Piana, would ask me what I aspired to do with the harp and I just wasn’t sure. Until I had met a lady, Aida Dagort, who was a retired harpist from the movie studios. It was then that I latched onto the idea of playing and recording for movies and tv shows.
I now am what I call a professional harpist. I have done the adequate training to perform and teach the harp and it is what I do as my full-time “profession”. When I acquire new students, young or old, I ask them what they would like to do with their harp training. I enjoy the answers and keep them for their future. I encourage them to dream big but am realistic with them about the ‘real’ world. I tell them of the work I do and hope that it is enough to inspire them to continue working at their art.
No longer do I strive to work in the music studios. It doesn’t not appear to be everything it is cracked up to be. Now as an adult, I can enjoy the work I do get. I love what I do and I would not trade it (but I have tried to in the past and I always come back to my harp). One of the most special aspects of being a musician is meeting new people and imprinting in their lives in some way. If I am teaching, I feel that I am not just their music teacher but I am teaching them other life skills. With freelance work, I truly enjoy entertaining clients to the point of having them come up and want to talk with me about life and music. It is rewarding to get to know new individuals and share with them my life’s work.
Part of the article touches on a very important message, that I completely agree with.
“Having a compelling artistic voice, being an artist who connects with people, excelling at your craft.”
Yes, it is absolutely worth it!