Anything worth doing is worth doing well

March 24, 2011 § 7 Comments

Well, not everything. Personally, I try to jog on a regular basis to puncture my ego and stay humble. Also, fresh air. It’s a, well, humorous sight, I’m sure.


Despite my claims to the contrary, I am not entirely finished with MIDEM. Or, rather, a phrase I heard several times as an attendee, that I’ve heard from others both inside and outside of the music industry.


I love being a musician. It’s like I turned my hobby into my job.


You know, I quite enjoyed playing piano as a child. It must be so nice, to work on your hobby all day.


I cook as a hobby. I lift weights as a hobby. I doubt a professional chef or body-builder would like having their vocation put on the same level as my mild to moderate interest. It’s not time that makes the difference – it’s a mixture of true love and sheer bloody-mindedness.


I think it’s fair to say that the majority of professional musicians don’t do it for the fun. We may do it for the joy, but not for the fun. We don’t live off rainbows and moonbeams, inspiration and Byronic mumblings. And we work fucking hard. And, often, it’s glorious work. But that doesn’t deny the blood, sweat, tears (and other clichés) that go into it. Or the requirement to make yourself totally vulnerable, give yourself out freely, and to accept criticism (not always constructive) when you feel it’s too personal and too raw to bear.


Calling the musical profession a ‘hobby’ implies a lack of hard work, a lack of drive, of perfectionism. A simple choice, charmingly made.


Oh, I’ve decided to take my hobby to the next level – isn’t it lovely?


In a similar way that the phrase “homosexual lifestyle” is a pathetic attempt to marginalise the reality of LGBT people’s lives, so “music as a hobby” totally fails to portray what it is that we do as professionals. I don’t practice my Hanon to relax after work. I don’t keep up to date on my research for something to do when I’ve finished the crossword. It is my work, and I give it the best of me. Maybe there are popular musicians out there who don’t feel the same. Which I say tells you all you need to know.


§ 7 Responses to Anything worth doing is worth doing well

  • I have said that phrase, or others like it, many times, but most usually in the form “Music used to be my hobby, but it’s sort of ended up as my job”, which I think reflects the change in my attitude towards it. I certainly don’t think of music as my hobby any more. It’s an ex-hobby, about which I am now much more serious.

    • cnlester says:

      But hobby seems to imply a level of casual interaction, something peripheral to the main business of living – were you ever casual about music?

      It just feels wrong – it’s like the difference between a crush and being madly in love.

  • Jane B. says:

    I love this post .

    It says everything about peoples attitude toward the difference between being an artist and a capatalist whore (and I write that still not knowing which I really am lol).

    The difference between wanting to pursue excellence, and simply just to scrape by and just pay the rent, or fit in to the narrow expectations people have about what drives us.

    I wish I could get out of bed every day and know that my life was about that wonderful agenda , but I want to change my body to be who I am (and it costs a lot of cash).

    But still, saying that ,it gives me something to look farward to after I achive that face , those tits etc etc…

    At the end of the day , if I don’t get what I want at leaste theres something waiting for me in the wings , that will let my soul sing….

    • cnlester says:

      Oh god, we all have to make trade-offs and sacrifices – but isn’t that amazing, to have a larger framework to work within, with something that beautiful to come home to after all the struggle?
      Good good luck x

  • Jane B. says:

    My spelling fail ;(

  • Clouds says:

    I have been known to refer to metal as my hobby and classical music as my job. My enjoyment of metal is unhampered by analysis, technique, dynamics, and any context other than that which I create for it. I’d rather be a musician than do any other job, but other people say that about financial analysis or marketing, and I doubt they look at the FTSE or statistics to enjoy the play of the numbers.

  • Nat Raha says:

    Thank You for saying this. It seems like society sometimes doesn’t get that being any sort of artist (including being a musician), especially at a stage where you’re not able to make a living off it, might actually be your life, where you channel all your energy.
    I guess some folks don’t realise that creating something that stands out & stuns amongst dirge commodified music & art doesn’t just happen in a few ‘spare’ hours on a sunday afternoon.

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