I met an amateur musician last week who had a huge house with a beautiful state of the art recording studio inside and his plan was to retire and do music full-time.
In contrast, I live and work in my bedroom at my parents' house.
My mum doesn't earn a fortune but she earns enough to not struggle if I don't pay rent. She's come under fire by many people for not kicking me and my brothers out over the years. I'm one of the privileged ones (as someone once said to me, I'm more of a peckish artist than a starving one). I know that loads of people have financial pressure to get out and get a job as soon as they finish education. It's so easy to go down that route. Earning enough money to be independent and do all the things you enjoy doing makes you feel validated in your existence. Earning so little that you can't even be bothered to be stressed out about your finances anymore while having society telling you you're a lazy good-for-nothing is less life-affirming. For the most part, musicians are not valued. People feel entitled to download your music for free and don't get out to see enough live music.
One of the things that really annoys me is when I play and people say, "wow, you're so talented". I prefer the term "skilled". Musical ability is for the most part not something that magically falls into your lap. I've practised for 25 years. Music is hard work and I think the hardest thing about it is the uncertainty of whether something that you're putting your heart and soul into will ever reap the rewards of your enterprise.
However, I think that there's something to be said for following your dreams and when I'm old, I know I'll have far less regrets after the life I've chosen for myself than if I had said, "you know what, I'll earn some money first and then I'll focus on the music". Take it from everyone I've ever met - there's no time like the present to do what you love. If you want it enough, you'll make it work. If you put it off, you'll regret that you hadn't done it when you were younger. There's also something to be said for doing something that's not easy. Every success I have, no matter how small, feels like something worth celebrating.
And on that note, I'm going to go play some violin :)
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