Why do you make music?

Lies diesen Text auf Deutsch.

You’re busy for years to do something without knowing why. For instance playing music.

Some make music because they chose it as a profession. But actually most of those professional musicians make their money teaching amateur-musicians. Most of them still perform although the money is bad and appreciation is not much better. But in spite of all the frustration, there is something driving them to play again.

Then there is another group of musicians, those who are privileged not to depend on the money they are making with their music: The amateurs. But they experience frustration too:

  • while practicing, things aren’t going that fast and easy like the want it to
  • being angry about making the same mistakes again
  • the audience prefers talking and drinking
  • a bad sound on the stage, etc.

In spite of frustrations amateurs too keep going. I had two hints last week to ask myself „why do you play?“ The first one was a masterclass held by Kenny Werner that I watched on youtube. The second one was a gig of our band where almost everything was perfect: a warm summer evening, an attentive audience, appreciation by the audience, and we probably played a little above our usual level. Even a blackbird joined the concert and sang along. But I was not really satisfied with the concert and came across the question „why do I make music“. Obvious answers could be „because it’s fun“ and appreciation. Appreciation is clear but „fun“? What is it that makes it so „funny“?

I found three motives for myself. Appreciation certainly played a roll some time ago but is not that important anymore. So this is left:

  1. the intensive dialogue than can happen when you play. The feeling of being part of a group of people that doesn’t stick together to defeat others but to pamper (coddle?) each other. The whole ist more than the sum of the parts. You might call this „pack-feeling“
  2. Reaching another state of mind. Maybe some kind of high. Being in the moment, silencing the inner dialogue. I must admit that I don’t reach this as often as I would like to. Maybe this is some kind of escape. Anyway I don’t need drugs when I can play that „it“ happens.
  3. the moment of creativity. Melodies and rhythms appear „out of the blue“ and disappear as fast as they appeared. Maybe this creative moment is dependent on point 1 and/or 2.

I have asked friends of mine, amateur-musicians this question. Answers were: appreciation, fun, but also the joy of hearing the band performing a harmony singing part successfully, communication ..

Now I am using this forum to ask in public.

Why do you make music?

I will be happy receiving answers in any language. Due to a lot of spam that came in here I was forced to change the settings for the contributions to this blog. I must approve the first one, then it works automatically.

Thank you.

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