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Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Musician and the Audience.. A Special Relationship.

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This is a shout out to all of my friends in the music and wider arts industry who’ve also had their lives turned upside down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The sad irony is that while so many artists are out of work, it’s the arts keeping people sane through these scary and challenging times… Rock on!

I don’t think I’m passing on any new revelation here when I say that at every woken moment of our lives, the world is constantly trying to screw us over.  In fact, I’d even go as far as saying that most of the plotting goes on while we’re asleep. So yeah.. 24/7/52/365, the world is constantly trying to screw us over.

We have , bills to pay, kids to feed, rents and mortgages, pressures at work or at school, health issues, loneliness, financial issues, we lose faith in those we want to look up to, put up with shitty and stupid decisions by people who get paid to make smart and good decisions. You worry about friends and family dealing with their own demons and you feel the whole world is claustrophobic and crushing and stretching you to the limit at the same time.

Then a virus comes along and your whole world has been kicked in the teeth. You’ve been laid off, you’re terrified at the prospect of not having an income, you’re separated from your family due to social distancing and stuck at home except for essential needs.

It’s awful and while it’s all to prevent us from getting sick, we can’t help but realise the things we took for granted are no longer there.

Like being able to leave what is now your fortress home to meet up with friends and go and take in a meal and some live music. You really look forward to this because this may be your big night out for the week, month or even the year.

It could be a local beer garden listening to an acoustic act or at a stadium watching a major touring act. From the moment the music starts, it takes you away from it all. Whether it’s just one 3 minute song, or a whole gig, the music brings back blue sky, let’s in fresh air. It let’s you breath and allows you to be the emotional being  you want to be rather than who or what you’re expected to be.

You may hear a new song or an old favourite that brings back a memory or an emotion and whether it’s happy, sad, funny or angry it let’s you feel it the way you want to feel it.

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When the music is good, you spend that time immersed in the moment, with the people you like to hang out with, and exorcising the demons that possesed you during the week You are no longer just another expendable member of the ant farm.

When the music is good, it doesn’t matter who or what the songs are about, in that moment those songs are aimed right at you and you’re convinced that you and the writer of that song are at one.

When the music is good, you head back home with a smile on your face. cleansed from the grey grit of the working week and when the music is really good, that experience can stay with you for weeks, or be the epiphany you needed to make some life changes for the better.

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And then we ask what musicians really do for a living!

Musician’s are not like doctors or plumbers or tax accountants who you see regularly and pay for their services. You’ll see a doctor because you’re sick. You call a plumber because you’re knee deep in shit or a tax accountant because you’re also knee deep in shit. You may never hire the services of a musician and if you may be one of many who yell “HOW MUCH???” when they quote you for a gig.

Surely a band can’t be that expensive. It’s only music right?

I mean it’s not like a doctor who’s making you feel better or like a plumber who’s getting you out of the shit. It’s just music. Well the fact of the matter is, that music DOES make you feel better and it DOES help to get you out of emotional shit even if it’s momentarily.

When the music is good, it helps to recharge your emotional and mental batteries and allows you to face the world again recharged.

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None of this emotional liberation happens without musicians. Whether they take part in their vocation on a full time or part time basis, musicians are as valuable a vocation as doctors, plumbers and accountants.

Just like all professionals, musicians have to learn their craft, invest in plant and equipment, practice their skills, travel to and from jobs, eat and pay bills too.

The relationship between a musician and an audience is very similar to that of doctor and patient or teacher and student. It may not be as personal or on a one to one basis, but when the music is good, the connection is definitely there.

It is rather puzzling that a profession that directly impacts on one’s deepest emotions is treated with less respect than someone who can run real fast and kick a ball between two wooden posts. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not devaluing the value of sports people but geez a lot of them get paid a lot don’t they!

So when you’re dealing with your life in isolation, listening to music, learning to paint, or write blogs like this one, and you’re waiting for the day when you can once again can go out to watch a band, a play or comedy show, remember the artists and other professionals who play a part in your emotional liberation. They’ll need your support when we come through the other side of these challenging times.

Tony Bonnici
Musician, producer and fledgling blogger. I like writing about the world around me including the people I meet and the places I visit. I also like writing about things that are cool and things that piss me off. This a place where I vent about stuff. Opinions are entirely my own and feel free to agree or disagree. Cheers :)