Writing music has been a long time love of mine. I can remember moments in my life as far back as when I was a kid that I enjoyed getting lost in moments of musical creativity. There is a real glut in the industry today, everyone is an artist of some sort it seems, the studio has never been busier, and the talent coming in has never been stronger. But making a living as a musician has never been harder, even my screen composer friends are feeling the pinch of music being devalued. New composers, willing to work for free or even at a cost to themselves just for the buzz of it, have nearly closed the scoring industry altogether and film producers working within budget confines are no longer willing to extend a reasonable amount of cash to the seasoned music producer. I myself have contributed to sound banks where anyone can go and purchase royalty free music for their productions and even those are no longer paying gigs. You get paid if someone downloads your cues, but there are thousands of cues to sift through.
I was working alongside someone performing this task just this week, and what struck me was this: She had no idea what kind of music she was looking for, so she was surfing blind. There was no expertise there to coach her towards making the right choice so what she inevitably decided upon was a cue that sounded pretty much like meandering elevator music. Will anyone care? Not likely.
I was listening to Jann Arden in an interview on Q-CBC this week. She was talking about a time when she really was ready to pack it in, but it was her manager that convinced her to stay with it. She is on the road 2 days out of 3 and even still questioning how long she can sustain that schedule, which is necessary to stay in the game.
I guess I’m grateful for a few things. I’m grateful that I don’t have staff or a massive overhead to feel obligated to sustain. I’m grateful that no matter what, I will always have creativity, and I’m grateful for the rest of my life and where it might lead me. For now, I am at peace and trust that when I decide to take the next step, I’ll be doing it because I want to, because it feels right to me, because it’s my life path and not based on someone else’s idea of what that should look like.
Yesterday I went to the market and each week they have buskers that fiddle it up at the entrance with a soulful mix of original and classic Celtic pieces. As I walked through the energy they were creating, it felt like the most honest musical exchange I’d seen in a while, a guitar case with a few toonies in it, a group of friends that have played together forever, and a crowd of people gathering at a market to purchase local fare and take in the local culture.
If I juxtapose that scene against a typical Black Friday scene in the states this week, I feel more privileged than most. I will spend the afternoon playing the piano and wondering about life for a while. May we all find moments of appreciation in the every day, and magical exchanges as we make our way.