I’m not a fan of shameless self-promotion, even though it seems to be required to be part of many wings of business associated with music.
In fact, I was raised with a hyper-self-deprecating strain of Puritan-esque and early Crafty training that often demotivates me from taking on acts of shameless self-promotion. Like writing an online diary, for example.
To be clear, this does not mean that I don’t regularly engage in embarrassing self-promotion in my work to earn a living or in my Work. It simply means that the necessary self-promotion I engage in is generally accompanied with a quality and recurring quantity of shame.
You know, I’m talking about the good old-fashioned first-world-problem kind of shame that comes from bullying, ridicule, judgment, doubt, and esteem issues that arise from internalizing the snark, sarcasm, cynicism, critiques, criticisms and comparisons from others.
I’d much rather be spending my time practicing, writing, recording and performing music. Selling (or hyping something that could otherwise speak for itself) is an activity that feels relatively dirty, insincere, and crass.
So, how to reconcile these very real feelings of distaste around ‘selling’ with what is generally required as part of the music product cycle?
My own ongoing music product cycle looks like this: practice-write-rehearse-record-perform-package-present-sell-recover. Each of these activities exercises vastly different muscles and skills. It is also known that the parts of this process that involve persuasion (getting someone else to do something to help) require huge investments of energy. Persuasion is not free.
With nine distinct skills and muscles to move, how might I focus on each of these parts of this process, at times in sequence, but mostly in parallel?
One quick answer: not very easily.
In a recent conversation over Pho about what might motivate someone to continue to write, record, and produce products in a culture that may not value or compensate even it’s most excellent practitioners, it became clear by articulating my own motivations that my primary goal is simple: to keep going and growing.
I remember an activity at a Guitar Craft course at Claymont (in 1991?) where Andy Moyers presented a game in the Ballroom. On the outside, the ‘work’ of the game was to discover the purpose of the game. Without struggling too hard to poorly articulate the scenarios of this exercise in words, it eventually became apparent that the aim of this game was to not win or lose because in doing so, the game would end.
The aim of the game was to keep the game going.
In my own ongoing work as a musician, there is a similar motivation. Specifically, my aim is not necessarily to be professional, or to earn money, or to become ‘successful’ or to tour or to get (more) famous.
My primary aim is to continue to put myself in the presence of Music, and to keep moving through the ‘product cycle’ building on the energy of the sparks that turned to fire on Nov 11th 1981.
* * *
Fly By - 07 (5.24M mp3)
Seven Years Ago: the night landscape begins to be come illuminated in the distance by dancing shadows from some great fires on the horizon.
* * *