Don’t Give Your Music Away
by: Lisa A. Leitl
There is only one person that knows what you are worth and that is you. One may have an inflated idea of their own worth; however in my experience most people underestimate their worth. This becomes even more apparent when we move into the world of music.
Some musicians have a difficult time asking for enough monies in order to sustain a decent living. Why is it that some struggle with money and others thrive?
Let us take a look at the way society typically talks about the creation of art. There are a number of phrases that we hear throughout our lives such as: starving artist, you can’t make money in the arts, only .0001 percent make it in that industry. Does anyone really know what the percentage is of those making a successful living with their art? I doubt it. Whether music or some other form of art these career choices are usually met with skepticism and raised eyebrows.
Young adults are typically told to go to college and get a degree in a field that will afford them the illusion of security. They are told to have something to “fall back” on or a “plan B”. Once someone buys into this way of thinking, it usually puts them on a fast track to another career one that will typically bring little if any real pleasure or satisfaction.
As a society, I feel there is a need to change this way of thinking if we are to continue supporting young artists. The arts should be treated with the same level of respect and professionalism as any other career choice. I would hate to see what might happen if we no longer have people producing worthwhile art.
Where to begin? I think it all starts with each individual or as Michael Jackson said “The Man in the Mirror”. Every musician working or teaching, I believe, has a responsibility to ensure that our community understands the value of what it is we do with our life’s work.
I get truly irritated when I hear someone tell me “Doctors” bill their patients high fees because they have spent years in college studying. Just imagine how much time musicians spend to get to a high level of proficiency. In comparison, it is undoubtedly much more time invested then most will ever spend in other areas of study.
When an opportunity arises be sure to tell other young musicians about your success and how they too can make a living with their music. This is where the conversation needs to take a turn. It starts with musicians sharing their professional experiences with others to encourage them to take their careers seriously.
Next time someone asks about your music, be sure to tell them about your success. Share with them your level of commitment to music and your passion for helping younger musicians follow their true calling.
Imagine how different this world could be if people did work that truly mattered to them.
Lisa A. Leitl, Musician, Mentor and Songwriter
Create and Live Life Out Loud!