A dark but brief overview, a solution born of grace, and a need for donations/philanthropy.
(This began as a simple update to my Contact/Donations page for the new website–going LIVE on 10/1!!–but clearly I have some things on, or in, my mind…)
Lodged at the shadowy intersection of The Arts, Entertainment, Education and “Other,” the current viable markets for generating income as a highly-trained and dedicated creative musician have been steadily shrinking and collapsing throughout my lifetime (see one example below, graph borrowed from IP CloseUp online, and originally seen by me in David Byrne’s book How Music Works). Many of you are unlikely to be aware that it is increasingly common for musicians at any level to be asked to:
- perform for free
- give away compositions and sheet music for free
- pay to perform at a venue
- pay to be on a record label
- pay for abstract services that trade on hope and ego
- donate performances for the ever-elusive “exposure”
- perpetually be a 1099 contractor and never an employee for years or decades (even at the same organization)
- be an “adjunct” faculty and fired every year, then rehired, over and over
- teach for rates equal to those of the 1980’s
- and much much more
Needless to say, the greatest bargaining chip in this casino is celebrity status, and psychologists and psychiatrists have proven that we automatically trust a name we’ve heard before over others that we have not heard (see Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow). The dangerous results of feeding this kind of non-thinking are being played out right now as our country (hitherto, the U.S. of A.) weathers one of the nastiest, most parasitic shitstorms of a government that has ever infested American soil.
One answer? Wake up.
And in that vein, engage every teaching, activity, art form, interest and person that you recognize as able to help you wake up. I strive every day to be one of those people and to create some of those art forms and offer some of those teachings and activities. Thank you for your interest and may the full light of divine grace smack you square between the eyes.
I am painfully aware that myself and my fellow performing artists are not the only ones to feel the squeeze of our current imbalanced, discompassionate and ruthless economic system, but if you have an inner enthusiasm for the work that I do, and the music and art I create, please make a donation today. Donations are used to fund woodwind-Zen-ecological consciousness activities that are otherwise unmarketable or commonly undervalued: performance, recording, composing, education and community outreach. 100% of my income is from these activities, and even when activating the “deep hustle,” predictability is low because the markets are dissolving left and right. For instance, schools have “no money” so, who does? Follow the money, as they say.
Our soulless reductionism is the primary disease of our time, and it currently goes far beyond what even Jesus or the Buddha might have called “sin” or “ignorance.” The soul does not respond to abstract numbers, it responds to Life. Actually, we require this soul for a valuable life but somehow it is missing from all the money ledgers. Help me remedy that degrading oversight. Support that which supports the soul, wherever you find it.