Contributed by David Ion, Sterling Silver Band
Families watch their musician members pour their heart and soul into music for years. Spending thousands of hours and thousands of dollars into their love of music. They are passionate, dedicated and become professional as a result.
Then they go out and perform gigs. Returning back home after a weekend of service they are asked, "How much did you make?" Unfortunately they have to answer something like this, "I made $80 Thursday doing that duo act. I made $27 at the Friday Jam, my share of the tip jar. And I made $100 with the four piece at that Saturday event we played." "Oh yes, I went to the Open Mic on Sunday, and none of us got paid." . . . A total of $207 for service rendered in four different club locations, moving and setting up, performing 4 sets or more at each club date. This amount might cover expenses of travel and daily costs. This scale of pay, if you can even call it that, does not, “Bring home the groceries".
The family at this point starts to question the initial investment that was made in professional instruments and sound equipment, not to mention the ongoing maintenance costs, strings, equipment failure, repair, etc. . . . It becomes a battle of maintenance vs survival economically. Putting the musician and the family in a stressful relationship at home. Most are told to go out and, “Get a real job". For someone dedicated to something most of their life, this is a real emotional blow. And clubs expect them to perform their best? Ha, some way to treat a professional.
And what is it with this current trend of running the live performers during the hours of 5pm and 9pm? Then they run the rest of the night to closing with Karaoke or a DJ, which, by the way, often make more than "the Live Band" did.
The live band does not have a chance to "hold a crowd" that never existed during the dinner hour, and ends up being told, "This not working out, sorry, we'll have to let you go." How are they expected to make a living when they are always cast in the wrong time, the wrong space, poor conditions and in a low light? How can we suppose their self-esteem stands at this point? The need to perform music is not a chosen profession, but rather a profession that chooses you. How sad, the REAL professional performing musician never had a chance, on the job or at home.
I am not done, stay tuned monthly for more.