18 Apr

“So why is there a perception that musicians are exempt from this contract? I believe it is because music, which everybody loves and most have dabbled in in some way during their life, is perceived as a leisure pursuit, an enjoyable sideline to the real business of life. The warm memory of the camaraderie at school band practice or those three-chord strummings in a teenage bedroom give music the glow of a happy hobby. At the same time, the get-famous-quick culture promoted by shows like the X-Factor encourage audiences to believe that musicians get in front of their audience by not much more than luck and the ability to look good holding a microphone. And if it’s so easy and so much fun, why should we be paid?”

Elisabeth Hobbs

Musicians become musicians because they have a passion and a talent. They also have high levels of self-discipline and perseverance. To become a professional musician takes a lifetime of work. Most will have started playing by the age of ten: at that age, you might practice half an hour a day, but as you improve that soon becomes an hour, then three, then five hours (that’s per day, not week, on top of your schoolwork). By the time you’re at music college – if you’re one of the very tiny minority who make it through the highly competitive audition process – you are likely to be practising six or seven hours a day, in addition to a daily schedule of rehearsals and classes.

The pressure is relentless and doesn’t end with your graduation recital. Except for the most utterly exceptional, the life of a musician is a perilous journey, through…

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