Musicians and Benefit Concerts...match made in Heaven?
Many a musician has had a significant other say (or scream?): “Musicians are the most selfish people on earth!” To create original music, polish it, promote it takes time and attention away from others....you'd at LEAST call them “self-absorbed!!” Yet no other group bands together so often to raise money for charity, and donates their talents in shows that would otherwise have cost thousands! (with apologies to your local church, who meet weekly, but usually without the same star power....and some have mandatory attendance!), how do we reconcile these two statements?
Well, some might suggest it's as simple as this: musicians like to play.....musicians LOVE to play.....they NEED to play....why Not do a benefit, see all your friends, pretend you're Mickey Rooney, and play for a combined audience? And that's part of the answer, but let's look deeper. There's been a LOT of debate lately about what value musicians should be putting on their services....a lot of which is, unfortunately, counter-productive....if a venue hires you hoping you'll attract some customers, and you don't....they won't be interested in compensating you for your hours of practice (we've talked about this before, right? They might have steered your practice to Nickelback covers if they WERE paying for it!)....but, regardless of your position on that issue, it's an indisputable fact that musicians will frequently be recruited for situations where some one else gets paid first (I did not use the word weasel), while they are left with the short end of the stick....so it might be that they just feel that they'd rather benefit a “cause” than some music biz weasel (there, I couldn't help myself).
But I still don't think that's it. What I really think is, musicians ARE aware that their performances have value....great value! But, they're also aware that, unless they are in a recording studio, their performances go out into the air, hoping to hit a target, like the rays of the sun finding the earth....and when their time is up....it's all over. In other words, musicians give generously of their time and talents because that's what they HAVE to give. Like the Little Drummer Boy....but they're still selfish...don't skip the video at the end of this blog!!