• stuartrook


As someone who (like the old joke about drummers goes*) “hangs about with musicians” a lot, both virtually and IRL (that’s ‘in real life’ kids) - I’ve developed what is probably going to be considered quite an unpopular opinion about their attitude to, well…..hard work. Unfortunately I suspect that most musicians think that they, and all other musicians - are special. On a special little planet where the rules of hard work and paying your dues to get anywhere really, REALLY good, don’t apply. I’ve realised I could write pages on this, but as a kick off - there is a meme that goes round musician communities on social media like clockwork every 6 months that makes me cringe to be associated with anyone who is blinkered and self centred enough to agree with it. It is titled - ‘If other professions were paid like artists’. In it there is a Surgeon, in full theatre garb, looking all pensive and 'saying' :- “I’m not getting paid for this surgery, per se, but the patient assures me that it will be great exposure!!" Remember this meme gets thousands of likes and thousands of musicians piling supporting the message. It makes me want to gauge my own eyes out with embarrassment (something that ironically a surgeon would probably be able to help me with). So, just a super quick recap of what someone HAS to do just to get on the START LINE of ‘being a Surgeon’.

  1. An unpaid 5 year-medical degree (after hard work, good grades, and likely volunteer work to get accepted). Oh and it’s not just unpaid, you pay for this. It might even be quite alot? Can anyone confirm?

  2. Then it’s just a quick 2 year-foundation programme, 2 more years of core training in a hospital, up to 6 more years of specialist training (paid, but not at surgeons rates).

So, years (and years) of back breaking work, and literally paying money up front. And what does a someone need to do to get on the START LINE of ‘being a musician’ (in the context of this meme).

  1. G, Em, C, D (ok, Am and Bm at a push) and about 120 lines of lyrics.

  2. Errrrr, that’s it.

I was about the caveat the above comment by saying I accept it’s slightly flippant, but actually, no, it isn’t flippant. I’m pointing out what is needed to get on the START LINE. The meme is comparing ‘A surgeon’ against ‘A musician’. The ‘titles’. Not individuals. The ‘titles’. It’s a completely fair comparison. And by the way. Surgeons still do some things for free. And nearly every other profession on earth does something, to their own cost, to get word out about their version of the service being provide. And anyway the words 'no thankyou, that's not something I want to do for exposure' still work. OF COURSE this isn’t all musicians, in fact every single musician that I work closely with musically and personally have a similar attitude to me on this issue. But I suspect the majority don’t - I’d love to be proved wrong. I could write another 20,000 words on this. But I’ll spare you (and myself) for now. Stu (Lux Lisbon)

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