Bette Middler in the song ‘From a Distance’ sums up the false impression that perspective can give us. From a distance what looks simple, is much more complex.
Music is deceptively simple. Over the holidays, I sat and watched the night sky. The sky was dotted by points of light, stars. I like watching stars. They fascinate me. They always have for as long as I can remember. The reason for this fascination is because from this point of space, they look so insignificant. So simple. With time I have learned there is more to them. That some trillion miles away, that single point of light in the starry sky has something more interesting that the unaided eye can see. Maybe its flames burn blue. Surrounding it may be three small planets, water worlds that don’t rotate on an axis. So the sun shines for days without end.
But from this distance it is nothing more than a point of light.
Perspective has made a fool out of me, unable to consider that there is more to it than the eye can see.
In this country music and most all artforms are not taken seriously. In school they are courses that are pursued as extra-curricular. They are pursued as secondary to disciplines that are considered more serious. The effect of this is the false impression that music and all other art forms are simple tasks that require only a bit of talent and effort to succeed.
But just like those little points of light on the night sky, music isn’t as simple as it seems. Perspective may make it seem so. But it isn’t. And this is where the trick lies. For someone going into music, perspective is crucial.
With the wrong perspective, an artist goes into music assuming it is simple. The result is they don’t invest time and energy in understanding their area of interest. They do not put in place strategies to enable them succeed. As musicians even in this scene, we don’t invest properly in ourselves as brands that are dependable.
Perspective will determine your attitude. It will reveal to you that music is not as simple as it seems. That it will require you to travel great distances. To forfeit your sleep. To go hungry and give everything you have, sometimes for nothing in return.
When you begin to move from the comfort of your own perspective and see music for what it really is, you are granted power. The power to realize that the end product lies in a complex meshwork of activities that only you are responsible for executing.
When you realize how complex it is you won’t blame anyone else for it. Failure won’t be everyone else’s fault but yours. Because when you don’t view things as simple, then you begin to take responsibility. You let go of arrogance, self-righteousness, pride and self-deceit. All aspects that flow from underestimating your task.
If you are thinking about starting a band, then my advice to you is to change your perspective. Because your success will require the same level of seriousness, dedication and endurance that other disciplines demand. Move beyond the illusion of simplicity.