Odds are every hard-working performing musician can relate to this:
Here’s the transcript in case you can’t see the image:
My day didn’t start at 9 PM when I first took to the stage.
It started at 9 AM. I ate, showered, dressed, and carried 30 pieces of heavy gear down two flights of a rickety staircase to load into a van.
I then drove 3 hours to the venue. When I arrived, I unloaded the van and started setting up my gear immediately.
I meticulously connected every cable to power outlets and the mixing board. If issues came up – if I was short a cable, if a guitar string was broken, or if a monitor wasn’t working properly – I problem-solved and quickly came up with a solution.
Then I did a sound check well in advance of the show to ensure that every setting on every instrument was tweaked. The levels and EQ on the board were adjusted according to the room, and were set – knowing that they would have to be altered again once bodies were in the room.
I had a quick supper if there was time, and I got onstage at 9. I might have been tired, anxious, worried, fearful, hungry, thirsty, or even depressed. It’s also possible that I was enthusiastic, excited, and hopeful.
Either way, I got up and GAVE IT MY ALL.
I didn’t just get up and play a 45 minute set either. I then repeated that once or twice more.
When it was all over, I had to disconnect every cable and organize all of the gear into bins and cases. Everything had to be loaded back into the van, even if it was already passed midnight.
Depending on the night, I slept 6 or 7 hours in a cheap hotel – maybe less – just to do it all over again.
I am NOT asking for SYMPATHY.
I am asking for EMPATHY.
If you were in my shoes, what would you expect to get paid? How would you value the performance I gave?
How would you compensate me for the endless hours that went into personal practice, rehearsals and preparation?
I am a MUSICIAN. I have chosen this life, so I don’t want to hear that you feel sorry for me. I want to hear that you value the hard work that goes into every show I put on, regardless of how the audience responded to it.
Author: David Andrew Wiebe
David Andrew Wiebe has built an extensive career in songwriting, live performance, recording, session playing, production work, investing, and music instruction. In addition to helping musicians unlock their full potential, he also continues to maintain a touring schedule with multiple bands.