Man Needs To Practise, But Actually His Career Is A Pointless Extravagance Society Doesn’t Want

throwcase-musician-career-practice

John Man, young musician and earnest believer in hope, courage, and beauty, says that he really has to do some practice tonight. He knows that he has that big performance coming up and he hasn’t quite nailed that really difficult part yet, so there’s a lot of work to do. But…come to think of it, society seems to have no time for musicians or artists or anyone not working a normal job, so maybe he shouldn’t even bother?

“I used to think this was my passion, and it was up to me to persevere through every obstacle,” he said. “But then I realised that one of those obstacles was apparently the entire world.”

Though he has spent years cultivating his craft and training at an elite level, Man is keenly aware that for most people, that doesn’t matter. “He should just get a job, like me,” said Joe, an employee. “I mean, I hate my job, but sometimes you have to spend your whole life doing things you hate.”

“I actually love my job,” said Jenny, a young doctor working in the public health system, “but it is becoming very difficult to do it. We literally save lives every day and yet everything is slowly getting worse and worse for us. I wish Man all the best, but sometimes I find it hard to care about his little concerts.”

Man says that he empathises with the plight of both Joe and Jenny, and he wishes that a charismatic figure like Robin Williams in the film Dead Poets Society had given them a rousing speech about the value of the arts when they were teenagers, just like he did for Man, through a television. “Life is about more than just law, finance, and throwing your new desk set off a bridge.” said Man. “Isn’t it?”

Bob Guy, concert promoter and Twitter chump, agrees. “That’s exactly the sort of thing we like our musicians to believe,” he said. “There’s nothing worse than a musician who has some awareness of how the world functions or what they could be getting out of it. Instead of just performing brilliantly, they start to have all these ideas about getting paid or being treated decently. It’s a nightmare.”

Man says that despite everything, he still feels like the arts are a worthwhile endeavour that should be preserved and cultivated by as many people as possible, hopefully leading to a vibrant culture in which everyone can learn something about their shared humanity from everyone else.

A nearby banker overheard these comments. “When I don’t understand what people are talking about, I just tune them out, and I go back to making extraordinary amounts of money. I love doing that.”

You may also like...

16 Responses

  1. Goran Piljic says:

    (Started my masters this semester) Right as I am getting over my doubts of why I’m doing this, you throw this at me… damn.

    • Ayana says:

      Because they used a picture of a violinist for this article, I happened to look up the world’s wealthiest violinist to date, who happens to be worth $50 Million. Hope this helps 🙂

  2. Is the word “practise” in the title the U.K. spelling of the word? It’s “practice” here in the U.S.

  3. slateone says:

    The sequence in the film ‘Hilary and Jackie’ where she puts her cello out on the balcony says it all about the life of a professional musician.

    • Throwcase says:

      Indeed! I hadn’t thought about that film for a while. Some questionable “truths” in that film, but that was certainly a dramatically powerful scene.

  4. jill phillips says:

    Excellent musicians can, with practice, deepen their own learning by teaching others themselves. Youngsters – and definitely today’s parents – can sort out with the help of the internet, books and recordings,what – and how to teach younger youngsters.These are important lessons taught by one of the very greatest teachers, Sarah Ann Glover of Norwich, 200 years ago. Result – a very large percentage of the citizens of Norwich became audiences who knew what was what and loved music. Which makes it all worthwhile, doesn’t it?
    Performance – after all, is surely more than just its veneer.)

  5. BILLY NUNN says:

    THERE’S NO GREATER FEELING THE WHEN YOU’RE PLAYING & IN THAT ZONE !!!!! AS GOODS, OR SOMETIMES BETTER THAN SEX. … & WE SHOULD GET PAID & TREATED WELL !!! EVERYBODY CAN’T DO THAT SHIT WE DO 😉🎹

  6. pwlsax says:

    If John had really been cultivating his craft and training at a high level, he would have spent at least a large part of life doing things he hated. Those 10,000 hours to greatness demand regular engagement with stress, self-doubt and despair.

    • Tony says:

      I have gone through tens of thousands of hours of practice. Both John and I do not hate practice. We embrace it as a stepping stone to what we love. A lot of professionals such as my self relish the opportunity to practice and continually improve.

  7. Sandin Wilson says:

    After 40 yrs in the music biz, world tours, concert dates, jazz festivals. It is a awful time to try and “. Make it ” in this biz.
    If you like starving, sleeping on strangers couches, cold coffee, drugs that impair , and a ” smattering if infifference” after your big hit, yeah it’s all uphill from there.
    It used to be 5% of musicians ” made it”, now it’s about 1% who can actually make a living. It’s equal now with being an actor.

  8. I have several friends in the arts world, though only a few have made it big (you’d recognize their names if I told you), the rest do local theatre in the evening while working day jobs they aren’t passionate about, or teach theatre at the high school and university level. The ones who didn’t make it get incensed whenever they see anything that appears to be disparaging an arts degree, or what they see as artists not being treated as well as they “are worth” (ie, semiprofessional local theatre groups paying young starting actors in “experience” instead of money. I have to bite my tongue, because often they come across as pretentious and self-important. The fact is, professionally you are worth exactly what you can get paid for. In the US there are hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of aspiring actors and starving actors working tables at restaurants to make ends meet, because acting is fun, it’s play-pretend. We have way more aspiring actors than there are decent paying jobs for those actors, we just don’t need anywhere near that many actors, its simple supply and demand. On the other hand, people with engineering degrees make the biggest starting salaries coming out of university because there is a real need for smart people with the technical skills to solve technical problems, design structures, machines, and processes. So sorry artists, but you need to get over yourselves, we will always have more than enough art because its fun and will always draw more people than ever needed. Therefore, pouting that you are “too good” for a low-paying or experience-paying job is simply childish. If you were really too good for that job, you wouldn’t even worry about that job, because you’d already have a job in the arts that is paying you what you think you are worth.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Amazing piece about How musicians are treated especially in the Good Old U S of A…
    It seems like the USA is the country of “if it sucks it’s gotta be good”
    For example:
    Macdonalds
    Walmart
    Can I get me some lady Gaga??

    Gaga gag me with a spoon

    The American Dream at its finest!!

Think. Type. Dazzle

%d bloggers like this: