I often read and post on a Classical Singers Forum and currently there is a thread brewing from a young singer who feels her family isn't supporting her as she wants to pursue grad studies in New York City. There is an interesting exchange about reality, being in the moment, money and all that implies.
What I found even more interesting is that I have found several young classical singers on myspace that are actually asking for help to pay for your their voice lessons and are asking, with a straight face, for someone else to pay for their lessons, because they are expensive and they need them.
This sense of entitlement boggles my mind, but I know it exists. Very respectfully to this younger generation - you are so used to "instant" that it doesn't occur to you that building the business of YOU - and the craft of your artistry takes TIME and DEDICATION. YOUR time and your dedication and YOUR sacrifice. Not somebody else's.
Artistic development is not instant. It takes commitment on EVERY level. It does not happen immediately. It takes sacrifice. It takes focus. YOUR sacrifice and YOUR focus.
When we look at sponsorship as a historical endeavor, an artist would need to prove themselves first in their genre - by performance, longevity, commitment - something!! Sponsorship doesn't happen cause we want it to! It needs to be proven that you and your talent are worth the risk and the investment.
One comment in the Classical Singer Forum thread was that singers need to live in the moment and go for it. This is highly over-simplified and frankly, rather naive.
I suggest a living in the moment happens in the artistic development of one's craft - living moment to moment to explore and experience. However, a singer who is not planning on the development of "ME Inc" and the business of singing, is being naive and frankly, ridiculously self-involved and behaving like a spoiled brat! This sense of entitlement is not living in the moment, but rather, not taking responsibility of any kind.
As I continue to write these blog entries, I continue to say: YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE. Your parents are not. Your teachers are not. Strangers you are asking for money are not. YOU ARE.
It is not up to anybody else to put your through grad school or tell you it's okay to take a risk - BUT YOU.
If you feel grad school is important then you figure out how you are going to pay for it. If your artistic development is important to you, you will weigh the pros and cons of what you need to do to further your career. Perhaps it's grad school, or perhaps your money is better spent elsewhere. There are no easy answers, or easy paths.
When I see and hear young singers expecting others to answer their questions and frankly, whining about how hard they have it, I honestly question their true desire to be an artist. Being in the moment does not mean you lose a sense of reality! What is real? your talent, your dedication, your focus. What else is real? The investment in EVERY currency - money, time, energy, focus, sacrifice.
ALL of this investment must start with YOU the singer. It might be supplemented by others, but if you do not show your investment in yourself, how do you think anybody else will take you seriously?
Sacrifice for your craft is not some blood-letting exercise!!! If your craft is important to you; if you need to fulfill your artistic path; if in the moment, you KNOW you need to be true to yourself as an artist and could never be happy letting that go - THEN PLAN FOR IT! Look ahead - create!!!! If you are a creative spirit, then USE IT in EVERY POSSIBLE WAY in order to access the NOW and the FUTURE!
What seems like sacrifice, becomes investment and the investment is YOURS and the investor is YOU. Your return is 100% YOU.
YOU are responsible. YOU are the one to prove to yourself that you can develop a plan to show what you need to do! What you need and what you want are not always the same, but you will see how the paths begin to intersect and work together. Finding out what you want now, is not necessarily what you NEED.
Grow!!! Grow up!!! Make REAL decisions! Make MATURE choices! Ask questions, of yourself, of your path. Create, Develop, and CLAIM. Don't wait for somebody else to do it for you - because, they never will and you will still be sitting there waiting, watching your life go by.
Be in the moment - by BEING IN YOUR LIFE and on the journey you are discovering!! Rejoice when you find a road block, because it now DEMANDS you get creative and figure out a way around or another way altogether!!
GO GET IT YOURSELF!!! Nobody gets it for you, but you.