Time flies when you’re having fun, or so the saying goes. I have alluded in the past to some of my experiences as a young musician. In those days, I would meet older performers who seemed to be disenchanted with the business, for various reasons. There are some advantages to being a young person in the performing arts, since it is easier to function as a cog in the wheel of someone else’s project as a youngster. As a performer advances in years, he or she is more likely to want to focus on doing fewer things, hopefully with more depth than before.
Striking a balance between following one’s muse and making sure one can keep the wolf away from the door is a trick that takes some time to get right. It feels great to go on tour and see the world, but sometimes it makes more sense to stay at home and get the drawing board work done.
Continuing professional development is an area that some performing artists tend to neglect. Then they wake up one day, realising how much time has passed and that they are no longer employable in the jobs where they initially made their names. Maintaining oversight of one’s creative journey is as much of a process as making a piece of work.
Some colleagues who I crossed paths with many years ago are no longer in the business. In some cases, they want to hold on the dream that they are artists, when in actual fact they have morphed into bureaucrats, for example. I had an experience in the not too distant past, where someone muscled his way into my creative process, simply because he used to have ambitions to succeed as an artist. He might have felt some pleasure from doing what he did, but he forgot that those of us who opt for the less financially secure paths also have some areas of influence.
The arts are too important to be left to only recipients of trust funds. Those of us who are willing to take the risk of dealing with uncertainty should be treated with respect, even if we don’t hit the jackpot for the gatekeepers.