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Re: To those who make a living off of music

 On Feb 15, 2012, at 11:17 AM, k3zz21@gmail.com wrote:

What is it that keeps your motivation and creativity fresh?

My love of the art, my imagination, my desire to help others through music.  If any one of those three elements are there, they usually kick start the other.

We do get in ruts though, so lately I've allowed myself to take a break from the whole thing, which has been totally refreshing.  It's been good for the art of it all too.  

Writing music for film and video was great for me - up to a point.  I was forced to write everything from heavy metal to classical to jazz to ALL OF IT.  That was cool till the (dis)stress of all that just became too much.  I burned out after around 13 years of it.  But I learned TONS doing it. 

Finally, and this is embarrassing, but buying new guitars, banjos, kbds and gear always works in a pinch.  That's sort of a dangerous road that wreaked financial havoc on my early days.

How do you discipline your minds (if you do) to remember that you do this only for the love of music and not for money? Did any of you study music in college and survive?

Music itself disciplined me into it.  I started out in bands that did pretty well.  At some point it became very clear that that wasn't working anymore, so I started GlassWing Studios in 1981.
You can do it for the 'money' and flesh and drug bennies and that can be your goal but reality educates you quite quickly (if you're sharp) and less so if you're not sharp.  I'm not sure when I had the revelation that love is the only sustainable motivation.  I think partly it was working with dirt poor musicians back in the early eighties (at GlassWing) who had visions of gold plated sugar plums.  It was totally apparent (listening to their music) that the GP sugar plums weren't going to show up anytime soon... that they would have to continue making their living changing tires, selling crack, painting houses etc.  

The pain of watching that started to bring it all together for me.  They loved music but had torqued it into a theoretical cash cow.  I realized, if they only stuck with the love it would be totally and forever rewarding. 

I can't imagine how powerful that revelation could be for a teacher or professor!  Yikes!

It's always great to have something else to do to make money, so you don't have to prostitute the music or burn out like I did with film and video music or, to some degree, recording other musicians.  I was always very good with my hands, so I could repair, remodel houses etc.  Never did that for too long but it was a handy skill that serves me very well to this day.  For example, I'm currently remodeling the studio here.  To hire someone to do it would cost many thousands of dollars and they wouldn't do as good a job.  I actually love doing this stuff.  

This is my third studio.  Each one I did all the building, most of the wiring, thousands of solder points, crawling through crawl spaces, spider webs.  

In general, loving what you do is one of the greatest gifts a human can have.  Everything you learn (and love learning) can come in handy down the road.