From day one we are lost, essentially lost, until we find that drive in our lives that helps us pursue more. This is a rather fundamental aspect of growing up. For most of those reading this, and myself, this “drive” came from music. As Cutler states in The Savvy Musician, “music somehow carried an air of excitement like nothing else. […] Somehow, pursuing anything else began to seem like a crime,” and I can certainly relate to that experience:
When I was young, and I am sure most of you had a similar experience, people would ask me, “What do you want to be when you grow up? A pharmacist, like your dad, or an artist like your mom?” I am sure there were a few answers over time. Those ideals change constantly when you are a child. Nonetheless, the one response I can remember most was, “I want to be an inventor.” Oddly enough, as I grew up, I never actually pursued my future as an inventor. I just ate bugs and sang songs and climbed trees like most children. And though I may have been “distracted” during my prepubescent years, I eventually found what I see in retrospect as the best way I know to be inventive, music.
It was that one concert, for me, that changed everything. Not my first concert, but THE concert. I saw Sigur Rós for the first time in Portland, Oregon. I don’t recall what the venue was, but I am sure I could ask my brother, Billy. He was the one that drove me halfway across the state of Oregon to see Sigur Rós. The experience changed my life forever. Even though I had played music throughout my childhood, (piano lessons, trumpet in junior high, etc.) this one concert was what instilled in me a passion for music. Since then my eyes have opened to a new world of possibility. I realize now, only in retrospect, that I actually became and inventor without knowing it. The art of creating music, in particular but not restricted to composition, is the most inventive artform I have ever known. Of coarse, this is not to discredit other arts. All art can be amazingly inventive. Music was just what fate chose for me, so to speak.
The moral of the story is that since I found music, I have been awake to the world and my potential to pursue what it has to offer. The point I am trying to make is that my life went from gags to pitches. I refer to the kinds of gags that silence a person and make them unable to express themselves. We all have gags in our lives, things that pacify us. When I found music, however, my gags were torn open by the pacified ideas that I could otherwise not express. Music allowed me to communicate in a way that words could, and still can not.
An important message that The Savvy Musician successfully communicates is that being proactive in your music career will yield unsurmountable rewards. I absolutely concur. We (the musical community) can all generally agree that our journey through life is accompanied by our music. Rather, we are partnered in a great duet between us (the artist) and the art we yield. As a result of this mutual relationship between music and musician, I have come to realize that the limit of my future success is only determined by how much I limit myself. Ultimately, regardless of the luck we have during our careers, we are still the instigator and should certainly be a proactive one at that. A “savvy musician,” as it were, begets success and the reward reciprocates the amount of effort invested. As we develop our techniques and refine our musical skills, we build a relationship with our art, which for myself I see as an undying love.
I want to thank my peers in Topics of Music Business, particularly Marc Eaton, Ian Walker, and Josh (Boshy) Stevens for fueling conversations and ideas that procreated this article. You guys are the best friends a musician could have.
Thanks for reading Musik Modus Mémoires!