Friday, April 30, 2010
I had a deep understanding today: I am still carrying on my old behavior and thought patterns that I thought I'd tackled. I guess God gives me multiple opportunities to prove that I'm serious! This may sound complex, but it's actually quite simple, as all spiritual truths are. I had a big epiphany a couple of weeks ago - I realized I'd had this attitude of the struggling musician for so long, it was just engrained in my brain. I teach voice and piano lessons and realized I was accepting students that I didn't want to teach because they were unreliable and flaky, but I thought I needed them because I was feeling desperate to work as a musician and not take a day-job. So I was putting up with all kinds of behavior: constant cancellations, no-shows, etc. and I'd always take the student back, because I thought it was better than no students. Finally I realized I was working from a place of desperation, and nothing good can ever come from being in this place. As long as I have "less-than" mentality or feel a desperate need for something, I'm actually keeping it from me. I started telling the students I wouldn't give them makeup lessons for lessons in which they hadn't given me adequate notice, and telling students who no-show'd that I would not teach them. I stood up for myself! It felt good. Then I realized I'd been doing the same behavior/thinking in other areas of my career. As musicians, I think we are all so desperate to experience success in our field, that we're willing to put up with all kinds of behavior totally unacceptable in other businesses, and/or we are willing to take whatever we can get, even the bottom of the bucket, just to legitimize our craft. I remember telling someone: if I could get at least one cut, ANY cut, even a cat litter commercial jingle, then I'd be happy because I'd at least be earning money from my songwriting. Now I see how limiting that is! How many times I've been treated like a dog in some sleazy club by the management because I'm in the band, or not paid what I was told I'd be paid, or my phone calls never returned after calling 5 or more times. It's just disrespectful, but we put up with it because it's "all we've got". Well I just can't buy that anymore if I want to have success! I've done that in my own bands too: I've taken the little money we were paid and paid the band members but not myself so I could have the best players, or taken gigs that didn't pay at all so I could at least have a regular gig. It's pitiful! If I'd have put half the work in another business as I've put in my music career, I'd be the CEO of a major corporation. Why do musicians not get treated as legitimate? BECAUSE WE LET THEM!!! Don't tell me you've never done any of the things I have done - we all have. You're either nothing until you're big time is the attitude. You're at the bottom until you're at the top - no middle ground, no raises, no climbing up the "corporate ladder"..But if we buy into that attitude, then we ARE nothing! I have to accept only the best, the best students, the best PAYING gigs, the best musicians who treat me with respect, the best clubs and management who treat me with respect, and I have to say a big resounding NO if I don't get what I deserve. They say you get exactly what you feel you deserve....So the poor musician mentality has got to go! If I want the best, I can't be willing to accept the second best, or worse. I have to put my foot down! I feel good now!