Everyone has music in their lives.
We all know the term “That’s music to my ears.“ It’s a great reply when someone says something you really wanted to hear or “You’ll have to face the music.” when something goes terribly wrong and we have to own up to our mistakes.
Why do we use these terms?
They are passionate reactions in the extreme. Something that is AWESOME like winning a proposal that you worked very, very hard on or on the flipside (no pun intended – oh, that’s for the old timers out there), if you’re like me and prefer to beg for forgiveness rather than ask for permission, something that SUCKS such as explaining to your family, partner, colleagues, boss or whomever why things didn’t go as planned. You have to admit both have happened to all of us at one time or another. But we both know that’s not the music reference I am referring to, is it?
Do you listen to music regularly?
If you do, then you also know what I mean when I say that a great song brings out that momentary almost irrational passion from deep down in your gut. You bite your lower lip, you pump your fist and you don’t care, for a moment, what anyone thinks. It’s hot! You can FEEL it. It’s an extreme reaction. Just for a couple of minutes, even seconds.
Wouldn’t it be brilliant if we could bring that passion to our art every day?
So, what’s THAT all about? Well, let me give you this. When I was a younger man I used to go to a ton of concerts. Local grass roots bands mostly. Back then Toronto was an exciting place with a rich local music scene. It was the early nineties and the world was buzzing with guys like Kurt Cobain and David Lowery among the many influencing the sound of the day. The music was visceral. Real. I have been out of that game for a long time but from what I can see in the local Zines the scene is very much alive and as vibrant as ever. As it should be.
How does it feel to be part of the action?
If you’ve spent any amount of time going to club gigs you will certainly agree that there is such a rare feeling you get from watching a band cranking their hearts out in a small venue. The heat, the sweat, the urgency and the sheer passion is palpable. There it is again, passion. Totally invested. Leave it all on the floor and go home with nothing left. It was such a raw and exciting feeling for me and, hey, I was only ever in the audience.
Man, what it must feel like to be on that stage, giving your all, pouring your passion out to the audience.
I loved going to those gigs. I loved chatting with the people there. You’re like-minded brethren and in it together even for just a short period of time; moshing, sweating and grinning just because you have to. You can’t help it. The passion from the band and the audience always seemed to mix and work together in unison. That got me to thinking about my work ethic and drive; my passion. What interests me immensely is the nature of a working musician and where they have come from. What did it take them to get there at that particular moment, on the stage, in front of you?
Now, let’s give that some thought.
Think about the work; the practice, the gigging, building their network, getting their name out there. The passion and entrepreneurial mindset that exists in the music industry astounds me. What other profession has been hit as hard by the growth of technology that the music industry? Yet where it’s most obvious, at the grass roots level, the industry has embraced change and is thriving at a visceral level. I see musicians and bands innovating, creating their own space and hitting their niche despite the odds. As Seth Godin opines often enough why wait to be found? Create and ship.
My love for music taught me that hard work will always bring dividends. Over time, my career in the design profession has grown slowly and organically. Am I done? Not by a long shot. The world is changing and I understand the need to adapt with it. We all have to look for the opportunities to innovate, improve ourselves and recognize emerging trends in order to stay relevant.
It’s really simple. We have to work.
So, let me ask you. What are you doing to keep yourself relevant?
Are you reading? There are publications waiting for you. There are a ton of great books out there that will test you. Here are a few for you – click me. There are tons of fabulous blogs and websites in your niche. Go ahead and read them. Discover.
Are you asking for a critique of you work, your ideas, or your passion? You have colleagues, friends, mentors and family. Go talk to them about your work. It’s scary, I know. Just try it or come talk to me. I will listen to you.
Are you willing to share? You have the ability to give of yourself even if it’s a really small thing. Reach out to your industry, other industries or communities and connect. Share a smile, a smiley, give some feedback, ask questions or just stop and say hi. Share your thoughts. You may discover something that you have never known that could bring you ideas for your own work.
Are you taking action? Pick up that guitar, pencil, paintbrush, mouse, keyboard, whatever your instrument is and start working at it. Doing is as relevant as it gets. Get started as soon as you can. Doing will ignite a fire in your passion for your art.
I have said all this before but just as the Propeller Heads and Shirley Bassey put so eloquently “It bears repeating!” And it does.
So, here’s my game plan.
- I will work my ass off. Always.
- I will learn something from the awesome resources at my disposal.
- I will share my goals, ideas and vision so I can hone it down to its essence.
- I will accept that I am one guy in a big, big world and that my niche is important to me.
- And I will do something to help my friends grow and to share my knowledge with my growing community.
I want you to hold me to it.
Come after me but if you do you have to join me. We can grow, learn and evolve one day at a time, one gig at a time and one connection at a time.
I hope you’re ready because I am coming after you. If you want me to.
- How does music influence you?
- What do you listen to that brings that passion out of you?
- Does music affect your creative output?