Hello! I’ve had half a lifetime as a musician – student, amateur, semi-pro, pro, teacher; songwriter; composer. You name it I’ve done it.
And I’ve had half a lifetime in the “conventional” workforce – financial services, community sector, public sector, even ship building. And some pretty interesting jobs too – from running helpdesks to managing vast spending pools to designing programs to support the disenfranchised to exploring the arcane mysteries of something called “strategic innovation”. I’ve even owned and operated a cake shop!
And right now, along with everyone else here in Melbourne, and of course across the world – I’m living through the most unprecedented of times. Although – I may not have been quite as surprised as some of us when the pandemic came along. As far back as 2005 I was writing the “pandemic plan” for a major financial institution, as had become a requirement of the Australian financial services regulator in the wake of SARS.
Yep. This has been a long time coming.
My Favourite Words
I should also mention my three favourite words:
So when I was given the opportunity to write a series for The Hornet Press I asked myself two questions: “well, how did I get here?” (which we surely all regularly ask ourselves) and “well, what shall I write about?” For me the answer to the first question lines up with the first two of my three favourite words; so it seems only natural that I should answer the second question with my third word…
I like the word “perspective” because it reminds me that we all have one; and that no two are remotely alike, once we take into account all our unique inputs, from the earliest of childhood experiences through to what happened to us daily. Also because the power of perspective is that, once shared with someone else, its inherent uniqueness can’t avoid influencing another person’s perspective in some way. It is Newtonian.
Its also true that I’m sometimes tapped by people as a “mentor” – someone who will listen to a situation and provide a perspective on it – because they’ve recognised the value of getting someone else’s take on things, even if it’s different – or radically different – to their own.
So, dear reader, I expect that my perspective will not align entirely with yours. And I hope, dear reader, that my perspective empowers the serendipitous introduction of new possibilities for you in these, the most challenging shared circumstances that we’ve ever experienced.
I’ve conceived of six-story headlines that draw the arc of what I propose to write about, on the subject of the music business – the second-toughest industry I’ve ever worked in, after the fresh food (ie, if you don’t sell it you have to throw it out) business:
- An aphorism for times like these
- The unique continuum of participants in the music performance business
- Art, creativity and competition
- The second toughest industry I’ve ever worked in
- Music Monetisation in the age of streaming (ideas, anyone?)
- Portfolio theory for musicians
An aphorism for times like these
Increasingly I have found that, when people seek me out for advice or guidance on a problem or challenge they are facing, that themes tend to emerge. That challenges tend to have a ring of familiarity about them. That simple wisdoms, seemingly relevant to the discussion, quickly spring to mind. That I’ve become kind of a walking bag of aphorisms.
So far so good. The catch being that the utility of an aphorism is bound to the context in which it is offered and – dear reader – the context for you and I is rather one-way! So I must conjure up a useful context in which to offer what is, for me, among the most profound and utilitarian aphorism I have yet to encounter. Here goes:
You’re a Musician
You might be a student, an amateur, a semi-pro, a pro, a teacher, a songwriter, a composer.
You might be all of those or any of those depending on the context Or, to go broader, perhaps you work in the hospitality/entertainment business in a way that at least partly engages with the music industry Your work – some of it, maybe all of it – has vanished in a puff of coronavirus You’ve discovered that your “new normal” is a world where everything can be shut down on just a few hours’ notice