Dear readers, in the Music Psychology series, we would like to offer you a view at seemingly obvious topics within the music world from a different perspective. This time it will be about the challenging life of a musician/an artist, which has to strike a balance between a career and a private life. My guest is a respected music therapist and a member of the board of Music Therapy Association of the Czech Republic (CZMTA) PaedDr. Lubomír Holzer. You can check the first episode here with the background of this series, as well as more information about Mr. Holzer.
Cover photo: Pipes and Pints (Pilsen 2014)
Photos credit: Milan Říský
Originally came out in 2015/03 issue of Czech magazine Muzikus.
These days a band needs to tour as much as possible in order to have a decent income. On the other hand, in that situation, the band members are under tremendous pressure to tour intensively, provide outstanding performances and let’s not forget, minimizing the impact on their families. What is such an artist experiencing?
A musician, if he or she wants to accomplish something, has to invest everything – time, money and a private life. Artists usually have a hard time making a living from the start. If one keeps going for longer than the first ten years, there is a big chance of breaking even, if he or she has something to say and offer with his or her music. For example in pop music, there is a pile of other factors – producer’s intention, desire to succeed no matter what, a rich sponsor or daddy. In fact, musicians are placing pressure on themselves, without even knowing it. A band does whatever they can to have some income. The family of a musician has to make a peace with it, there is no other solution. Either they’ll manage or there will be somebody else. Every dedicated musician is a self-centered egoist (in a good way), otherwise he or she could not do it. If one is complaining that music is killing his or her family, I heard there are some open positions for tram drivers.
Can we make a comparison with other similar “jobs”? How are those people dealing with their challenges?
A consumerist society creates permanent pressure and an environment of insecurity. In the Czech Republic fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. State is not supporting family nor parenting. I see a big difference between musicians and others. Musicians might be traveling more, but that’s not the rule. Most of us are overworked and those who are not, are unemployed or gambling. Everybody is trying and hoping to live better lives. Only some of us will manage.
The family of a musician has to make peace with it, there is no other solution.
Holidays vs. Working Week
It must be very strange during holidays and vacations when musicians leave a tour cycle. Some are relaxing and spending time with their families. Others are using those free days for other projects. Family-life is suffering in the long term no matter what. They either cannot enjoy him or her at all or they miss him or her, as that shared moment was just short term.
A musician does not distinguish between days of the week, holidays or a vacation. If there is an opportunity, it’s time to play. What if “that gig” was the opportunity to get recognized by important people? To be fair, genre is not important in this case. During holidays there are actually more events for more money. Again – family must accept the life of a musician, period! Christmas or New Year’s Day are not an exception. Holiday moments can be rearranged. You can always find a solution.
We can also see two extremes. Some are doing the best they can to be with their families. They are bringing them on a tour, shortening a tour or even sacrificing a music career for a family. On the other hand, there are some who are fully diving into that lifestyle and due to pressure or temptation they get attracted to drugs or other “pleasures”.
A musician simply has to become famous or build a stable flow of income at the time when he or she is independent and not married. If there is talent, patience and persistence to accomplish the intended goals, a musician can start a family. Artists, actors and musicians are investing a great amount of emotions and energy into their performances. They need to recharge somehow. Therefore drugs and alcohol on the way out. Some have survived, plenty have died. Musicians are fully capable of living a “normal life”, but … not everybody can be a musician.
Musicians are fully capable of living a “normal life”, but not every “normal person” can be a musician.
Thank you for your support. Next episode will about masks.