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New Zealand Music Month 2023

Reflection 1/10 - Demystifying a Music Maker's Life

I don’t think that I’m a particularly sentimental person. Growing up my mum was always quick to declutter. Mind you, I was always quick to accumulate. I was also insistent on keeping every school book, study note, and cardboard box I found, despite obviously having very little use for them ever again. Perhaps my previous statement is untrue. I have also been warned to stay away from nostalgia by a university supervisor, which upon reflection seems like such a Gen X thing for him to say. And that’s probably a fairly decent segway into what I am doing here.

Leading up to this New Zealand Music Month, I took the time to reflect on the wonderful and varied experiences that music has facilitated and to celebrate the people and connections that it brings. 10 months ago I transitioned into the “real world” of music making, becoming a freelance musician. This time has been filled with its fair share of highs and lows. It has featured approximately 36 concerts, 8 recording sessions, 6 work trips, 4 festivals, 3 contracts and countless new friends, memories and pieces of music.

People around me are often curious about what I am up to and I usually struggle to put something together as a response. It's not because I haven’t been busy. But I have realized that what's so normal to me - working on one passage of music for a weekend or going to workshop a composition with a performer, or convening an event - is just so different to what they’re used to. I think of it as "life" - a very lucky life to have but still just life. Usually, I respond with “work” because it sort of encapsulates it all. My flatmate tries to argue that I can only call the work I’m getting paid for “work” and that everything else is “volunteering”. However, I like to see it all as being work, because the time that I put in now will pay off later. Every hour that I am writing, thinking, or engaging with music is an investment in my future.

Over the next four weeks, I would like to share some details, thoughts and pictures from the past year or so through this blog. Last year I attempted to do something similar for music month. However, I neglected to plan what I would do, and by the end of the second week, I had largely dropped off. Learning from my mistakes - a key motivator of these reflections - I have spent the past several weeks preparing a collection short blog posts.

1 Comment

Peter Fry
Peter Fry
May 01, 2023

Refreshing thoughts. I look forward to following your comments over the next month. It's an indictment on the neo-liberal forces and policies that drive our society that we only seem to value endeavour and intent if that 'work' generates money. Even the label 'creative industries' suggests a financial payback. Write on...

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