This blog is triggered by a message I received from a student in the morning yesterday. Just to give you a little backdrop, this student was supposed to chose the song he wanted to learn. Normally when the kids chose a music to learn they all look up a link which has a sheet music that has been written for the piano and then they start learning it. These pieces of music can sometimes be free or sometimes they need to be bought. Writing out music for a particular song is very time consuming needless to say it needs a certain skill set. Machines can’t do it (at least can’t do it right). It is as a skill set which requires knowledge and time. So obviously many a times you need to buy it. It’s like buying a book.
Anyway so this kid sent me a link, and I told him he would probably need to buy it as I had no copy of it. These sheets cost around 300 to 400 Rs. The reply to which I received was “I managed to take screen shots, why spend money on it”.
My first reaction was to reply ” Kid, someone spent time and used his knowledge to make this playable for you, he deserves the money”. But I refrained , I was too tired to explain this to a fourteen year old kid. Because the truth is, it’s not his fault, society believes that the arts should exist for free, or rather they don’t deserve monetary rewards like other jobs. So I was tired, because here was a kid, who lives in a fancy apartment, plays an instrument worth a few lakhs, yet he finds paying an artist who made a piece of music fit enough for him to learn a waste.
Truth is it really isn’t his fault. In my artistic life I have heard so many times (it’s a joke in the artistic community), we can’t pay you but we can give you exposure. Unfortunately that doesn’t pay my rent. And this if for any one in the artistic field. I have had designer friends who were asked to design things for businesses to expand t make money and grow yet they felt these designers who would be a pivot to that deserved no money. A few days back a restaurant in Canada advertised –
SOLO MUSICIANS REQUIRED
We are a small and casual restaurant in Vancouver , and we are looking for solo musicians to come and play in our restaurant to promote their work and sell their CD. This is not a daily job but only for special events, if it gets a good response might turn into a nightly event. We are looking for Jazz, rock, world, smooth type of music. If interested reply ASAP.
A musician responded to this ad
Happy new year! I am a musician with a big house, looking for a restaurateur to come by my house and promote his restaurant by making dinner for me and my friends. This is not a daily job, but only for special events which may eventually turn out into a nightly event, if we get a positive response. We are looking for a fine dining experience, with exotic fusion cuisine. Are you interested in promoting your restaurant. Reply ASAP.
Funny huh!. Yeah you get it.
There was a blog I read by Swamiji a few weeks back. I cannot remember the title, but it had something to do with making money. And I laughed because there was a very a apt line something to the effect , where he says if you want to create art and things like that you better have money, because nobody needs it. The only way you can make money is by providing people with something they need. I laughed a lot.
He is right, nobody needs it, unfortunately God doesn’t gift art only to the people who belong to rich families. It is a gross injustice I feel. Mr. G should do something about that. Any way a part of my poetic soul somewhere believes for society to evolve and heal, the arts is a service that the world needs. How ever society will probably never believe that. That is the curse humans live under. Sigh! one day maybe that curse will break.
There was a beautiful slogan I read somewhere during the pandemic –
AS YOU BINGE WATCH YOUR FAVOURITE SHOW THROUGH THE THIRTEENTH SEASON, OR READ A BOOK OR LISTEN TO MUSIC REMEMBER, REMEMBER THAT IN THE DARKEST DAYS WHEN EVERYTHING STOPPED YOU TURNED TO THE ARTISTS.
Well, maybe society really doesn’t need us, and maybe God will never alter his plan of making sure an artist is born with a rather heavy bank balance, but I tell you what all artists have been gifted with, apart from creating things (no one wants 🙂 we have a great sense of humour, you can send the best insults our way but we know how to laugh savagely back at each one of them. Yeah, Mr G has been generous with that.
Tomorrow I will teach a young boy music some musician must have toiled to write out, using a screen shot. My only solace is maybe he does live in a big house with a restaurateur making dinner for him and his friends every night all the while promoting his restaurant.