People think musicians don’t work, that we have it easy. By the time the world meets a musician, he has already spent countless dollars on equipment and teachers. Countless hours practicing his instrument, locked in a room away from all humans. By the time people see musicians, they meet this person who seems happy, out going, and ready to party. They don’t understand that we have just been set free from the 4 walls of a practice room and are trying to make up for lost time!
A friend of mine told me about a study that was done where they took musicians who were performing and used equipment to monitor stress. They did the same test on people with 9-5 jobs who worked at a desk all day. They determined that a performing musician in two hours goes through the same amount of stress as the person who works at a desk for 8 hours.
I tried to explain to a non-musician (a “civilian” as my friend Maritri Garrette, who is an amazing musician, calls them) why we shouldn’t work the same amount of hours as a person with a 9-5 and came up with this. A musician who is performing and reading music literally is deciphering math equations and playing them, hopefully, in a way that sounds good. A musician who is improvising is literally creating spontaneous and complex math equations that have to fit in with a set group of math equations that other musicians are playing. We do all this smiling with the added anxiety of people staring at you… :-/
The next time someone tells you that you don’t work hard, hand them a calculus book and a pencil and tell them to do math equations for 2 hours straight and see how easy it is. Being a musician is fulfilling and difficult. The reason it looks easy is because we love performing. We can’t help it if other people hate what they do. All we as hard working, focused, and creative beings can do for our civilian counterparts is to show them love, give them a great show, and sell them a CD/T-Shirt/Hat/Photo-Book/Underwear/Scarf in any combination that they choose. Be proud to be a musician, you rock and everybody knows it! ;-)