This I Believe

Christopher - Lincoln, Nebraska
Entered on June 6, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: creativity
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“This I believe” essay.

I Believe in Admitting You’re a Musician

So you’re a musician. It’s understandable. It’s ingrained into our very being. Music has touched lives throughout history. Musicians come in all shapes, colors, sizes and disorders. Some are formally educated, while others are educated not to be formal. In any case musicians share a common thread, the musician label, and it can haunt you if you’re not careful. Music icons such as Madonna, Clapton or the Rolling Stones will confess that super-stardom is bathed in majesty and envy from mortals, but anything less is just a hobby. And thus, everyday life demands complete denial of the title “musician” to preserve integrity and the promise of future worth. Many a musician has made the crucial mistake of owning up to their passion at the wrong time and place, preferring to ride their ego like a wave, only to have it swatted down like a fly. “What do you want to be when you grow up? How will you support us when we’re married? What is your previous work experience? Do you have references? These are just a few instances where the reply “I’m a musician” will abruptly end your dreams of respectable status.

The stigma of musicians is a lot like running for President, in that it sounds cool but nobody wants to do it anymore. Let’s face it, admitting you’re a musician is something you do between bong hits in some bozo’s basement, or in the corner of a dark bar with the opposite sex right before last call. One wouldn’t think of this admission of identity as such a formidable task at the outset, but under further scrutiny musician status (or lack of), must be handled with kid gloves.

The first step, like any self-help meeting, is admitting you have the problem. Are you an educated musician with a Masters or doctorate degree, wagging around your membership in the local musician’s union like it was the sling David used to kill Goliath. And that union scale wage. Ouch! Are you a musician making a career out of rehearsing six nights a week to a sold out basement of Seagrams 7 bottles and Coke cans, waiting for your big shot to sleep on a bus and tour the world for free drinks? Or are you a rock musician with a vocabulary of Dude, Man, Cool and Awesome, with an old car decorated with dents and stains, and sometimes viewed as a slob. To the contrary, unshaven and bad hair isn’t lazy; it’s a look.

Regardless of your background, you should be prepared for the baggage that comes with being a musician. The clichés will follow you like the IRS. But, if you want to color the world with your creative brush, and paint an emotional landscape that others can appreciate and enjoy, admit to it and have fun. If it’s respect you want, run for President.