The Resilience of Musicians

January 28, 2013

The HAAM office sees over 1,000 musicians a year in our offices. We interact over the phone and through email with nearly 2,000 unique musicians a year. We are very familiar with their lives and one thing that has become very clear to us as we think about the musicians we serve is their resilience. I am amazed by how well musicians can “bounce back” in the face of adversity. I was incredibly inspired watching this video called Landfill Harmonic that features a youth orchestra in Paraguay who make their instruments from recycled trash (really!). This reminded me that the resilience we see here in Austin is true of musicians across the globe. In the words of the orchestra director Favio Chavez, “The world sends us garbage. We send back music.” WOW, talk about powerful!

Along the same lines I wanted to share a quote that has been spread virally across the internet. I still haven’t found the original reference but I want to share anyways. It is attributed to David Ackert and he says, “Singers and Musicians are some of the most driven, courageous people on the face of the earth. They deal with more day-to-day rejection in one year than most people do in a lifetime. Every day, they face the financial challenge of living a freelance lifestyle, the disrespect of people who think they should get real jobs, and their own fear that they’ll never work again. Every day, they have to ignore the possibility that the vision they have dedicated their lives to a pipe dream. With every note, they stretch themselves, emotionally and physically, risking criticism and judgment. With every passing year, many of them watch as the other people their age achieve the predictable milestones of normal life – the car, the family, the house, the nest egg. Why? Because musicians and singers are willing to give their entire lives to a moment – to that melody, that lyric, that chord, or that interpretation that will stir the audience’s soul. Singers and Musicians are beings who have tasted life’s nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another’s heart. In that instant, they were as close to magic, God, and perfection as anyone could ever be. And in their own hearts, they know that to dedicate oneself to that moment is worth a thousand lifetimes.”

That’s what I mean by resilience!