EIGHT crucial QUESTIONS
A big part of this campaign is to challenge the cultural assumptions that devalue musicians.
They're as toxic as they are ubiquitous, and exist at every level of the industry in some form or another. You don't need to be a grungy punk rocker to fall victim; you'll find these even amidst the concert hall's formal blacks.
These questions simply put words to those assumptions. Ask around: what do your friends, booking agents, and fellow musicians say?
- Is performing music exclusively talent-based, or does it require preparation? Is music produced by musicians because of who/what they ARE, or what they do (e.g. woodshed and hustle for work?)
- If someone enjoys what they do, should they be requried to do it without wages? To be considered work, does something have to be unpleasant, dull, or dangerous?
- Is performing original music worth less than performing music made famous by other artists?
- Are Jazz and Art ("Classical") Music the sole styles worthy of any wage?
- Are money and art always mutually exclusive? Is "Art" always unpaid? Is anything paid artistically invalid?
- Are venues doing musicians a favor by simply giving them a place to peform?
- Is it primarily the musicians' responsibility to bring people to the performance?
- Are musicians unrelated individuals with no connection to each others' choices and actions?
The good news is that once verbalized and discussed reasonably, most people will come around, at least partially.
So, ask away - as a musician, these questions may save you some difficult choices -- and some lame gigs!