3.07.2015

Music Marathon

In just shy of an hour from now, at noon, I am going to descend into my Rock Cave for an almost non-stop five hour marathon of music practice. I have to run down the EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE set of songs for our show tonight at Mr. Roberts, mainly. That's the priority, but I do not expect it to take the full five hours. In the remaining time, I am going to work on songs on the agenda for GUPPY EFFECT and Rita Witter's as-yet-unnamed band. I also need to attend to some new material for BABY ROCKET, the cover band I sometimes perform with, although that is of lowest priority, because the next band practice with them is over a week away yet, and I can pursue these songs next weekend. So the priority of music practice this afternoon will be:

EDDIE ATE DYNAMITE set for tonight
Rita Witter's band new songs
GUPPY EFFECT new songs
BABY ROCKET new songs

I fully do not expect to get to the GUPPY EFFECT or BABY ROCKET songs tonight. But that's OK, because I plan to do another 5 hour marathon starting at noon tomorrow. Rita et al will be coming over around 6 PM on Sunday to rehearse for a couple of hours and then we will head over to the Funk's Pub Sunday night open jam around 8 PM to perform a few tunes there.

Between now and noon today, I am going to finish writing this post and eat some non-traditional breakfast, a bowl of leftover vegetable stir fry and brown rice.

Music and writing are like my secondary occupations, collectively called "my art." If money were no object, my art would be my principle pursuit and I'd work 12 to 14 hours a day at it, most days. I'd start my "work" day around noon and go until midnight or 2 AM depending on if I had a late band gig or not. Calling it a work day is kind of a misnomer though, because it's not really work if you enjoy it and are good at it. It does take a lot of mental energy though. I'd spend my mornings mentally preparing for the daily artistic marathons by exercising and reading. The noon to midnight work schedule fits my diurnal rhythm a lot better than the 8 AM to 5 PM schedule at the corporate workplace, where I currently generate the "underwriting" for my art, in the form of a paycheck. I am pretty useless at my day job between 8 AM and noon, because that is my mental relaxation period, naturally.

Some people who are not serious artists and musicians have a hard time accepting artistic pursuit as real work. If you tell someone you cannot socialize with them because you have to go into work at your day job, people pretty much embrace this without question. But if you tell someone you can't socialize because you are working on music or writing, some people don't embrace that as easily. They think music is a hobby and can be set aside for other priorities.

But for me, music and writing are the main priorities. Songs don't learn themselves. Books don't write themselves. I am not a painter, but I imagine paintings don't paint themselves either. Wishful thinking isn't good enough when it comes to art, or really any passion. Only wishful doing will do.

Indeed, my day job is not even a priority. It is more of a necessary evil to provide a funding source for my art. I am lucky to have a day job that is somewhat flexible on hours, so I can work it around my music and writing priorities.

To be successful, artists need to prioritize art over just about everything, and by successful, I mean producing value art, regardless of money. If they don't prioritize art, then other things will take precedence in their lives and the art will never get done. Once you give in to procrastination, it's all over. So you must be ever vigilant against the telltale signs of procrastination.

Don't get me wrong, socializing is important and necessary. So is rest and relaxation. But these things must be used sparingly, willfully inserted into the artist's life. Spontaneity is often touted as a virtue, but for the artist, discipline is better. If an artist spontaneously gave in to every opportunity for socializing, the art would never get done. That would be a hobby. Art is not a hobby for me though. It's a second job, albeit one that pays less than the wage of a Chinese sweat shop worker (equally exhausting, but way more fun, and less chance of maiming or disfigurement...).

Some art synergizes well with socializing too, so these things do not need to be mutually exclusive. For example, when my band plays a live show for a large audience of friends and fans, it is very social. We are providing social glue to the audience with our music and after we are done playing, we can mingle and schmooze socially, often making new friends.

Well, this free flow of thoughts has been brought to you by me. It's 20 minutes until the music marathon begins at noon, so I will bid thee farewell for now, so I have time to eat.

Ciao!

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