Why musicians are cool

Courage is the willingness to act in spite of fearIt’s no secret that people generally think musicians and singers are “cool,” especially young people. This perception has always fascinated me. For me, at least, it’s just my “thing.” Some people are naturally good at math, or at business or decorating, while others have a propensity toward being a conscientious mother or a skilled athlete. But why are the performing arts regarded with some sort of elevated status? It’s not like it’s a lucrative or secure profession for 99% of us, or it’s not like we’re out there being Mother Theresa. And let’s be honest; performing music seems narcissistic by nature, with attention-seeking egos and insecurity out of control all over the place.

Recently, though, a good friend of mine told me about her progress with singing, and suddenly it dawned on me WHY people hold music performers in such high regard. It’s because we have incredible courage and a tremendous work ethic. To make ourselves vulnerable, putting ourselves out there for all to criticize or ridicule takes guts. Most of us creative types are very sensitive people, but to let our skills be heard, and to recover from rejection and keep going takes a backbone of steel. It’s a weird irony. We get so hurt so easily, but there we are, out there offering our work to the public.

Then there’s the work ethic. My friend told me about how she has wanted to sing, and with her voice teacher, she’s been working on her vocal technique regularly. As a result, she’s improved significantly. The same persistence is true for any and all instrumentalists. There are no shortcuts. Years of practice and development are the only ways to get better. I always compare it to learning a language. Progress is incremental, but over time, you’ll gradually become fluent in Japanese or music or whatever.

It’s true that tenacity is a quality of most successful people in any area, and it’s commendable. But I guess what really sets music people apart is their courage to share their intimately personal talents with the world, knowing they might not be accepted. We bare our souls for the love of our passion. So to all my music sisters and brothers out there, power on, my friends. You rock.

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