By Jennifer Cole
While it’s common to think of lavish, millionaire lifestyles when talking about musicians, the fact is in the music industry just 1% of musicians make 77% of the total profits. For the other 99%, music is a labor of love for both themselves and for the people they play for. Like many creative fields, there is no step-by-step track to becoming a working musician, as everyone has their own way of learning and playing. But the feeling people get when listening to good music is universal. There’s a reason certain tunes and melodies feel as if they have a calming, healing power. People can connect with music in a way that truly enhances the quality of living.
Responsibilities of Musicians
Part of being a musician is being an entertainer. And yes, while having flashy instruments is cool, the best musicians are the ones that connect with people through their music. Before modern technology, instruments were made out of whatever people could get their hands on. Today, owning personalized guitar accessories, computerized sound mixers, and audio tuners give musicians an expanded set of tools to make unique sounds.
Communities of people who all have a common interest are able to chat and collaborate, advancing music to higher levels than ever before. But despite all of these changes, one thing about musicians has stayed the same: they owe it to the listener to make their music connect. One of the best privileges of being an artist is affecting an emotional response in people with your creations – and music is no different. Young people today who pick up a guitar, keyboard, drum set, or even a computer may make music that sounds different from 20, 30, and even 1000 years ago, but the effect it has on people stays the same.
Benefits of Music
As more studies are completed on the benefits of music therapy, psychologists are continually learning more about just how important it is in our lives. Music has been proven to have positive effects on people with learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s, and substance abuse problems. What used to be seen as an enjoyable leisure activity is now being realized as a necessary component to the human experience.
But perhaps the greatest quality to making music is that it is not limited to age. Discouraged young artists should not be dismayed if they aren’t in the top 1% of industry musicians. In fact legends like Leonard Cohen, Andrea Bocelli, and Pharrell Williams all “made it” after they were well past their twenties.
Even if you don’t get rich and famous as a young musician, the benefits of playing go beyond the fame and fortune. Having the ability to touch someone’s life in a unique way is a rare gift that even many of the 1% of musicians don’t have. People shouldn’t play music for the hopes of getting recognized for it, but instead, play for the ability to add something positive to the world as a whole. The more young people who adapt this mindset, the brighter the future of music will be.