Being a Blue-Collar Musician

I am a blue-collar musician. I first heard this term in the 1990’s while free-lancing in Boston. At the time it came as a huge relief. I didn’t feel I could play with the consistency of a high level performing artist. However, I could show up to jobs on time, fully prepared, play well and otherwise fulfill my professional responsibilities.

But there is more to this story. First let me get into why this issue arose in the first place. I grew up in a family in which it was expected that I would go to an Ivy League school, pursue a high paying career, and live a life of luxury. Since I chose a career in which most workers are not nearly financially compensated, somewhere along the way I made the decision that I had to be an “artiste” in order to live this prescribed lifestyle.

It all comes down to being who I really am. I love stories about tradesmen who invent and create. I recently met a metal artist in Sante Fe, NM who started out as an electrician. He loved the wires and springs associated with his trade. His pieces now fetch thousands of dollars and he couldn’t be happier. I find comfort in the knowledge that I can still play the violin professionally yet be free to pursue all of my non-musical interests.

The Inspiration for Violinists card deck
This “Affirmation” card is part of a 50 card deck. Every card has a unique image and text inspiring musicianship, mindfulness and spirituality.

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