Hamlet and a Happy Year
January 09 2011
There sat the Pianobabbler. New Year's Eve dinner. A dozen friends. Actors. Musicians. Writers. The glow of community, fueled with wine, nourished with fine food.
"A toast," demanded our host. We all paused. Finally, the writer amongst us raised his glass: "Thank goodness 2010 is over! Here's to 2011."
There rang across the table a loud and silent consent. We had all in 2010 felt the difficulty of living the arts life. We all hoped for and expected more in 2011.
The Pianobabbler has no intention of making this, his first babbling of 2011, a jeremiad. On the contrary. I'm blessed to live and work in the arts. The material wants the arts life entails find more than their match in its spiritual rewards.
Yet every day seems to cast darker shadows on the arts. The hell-bound spiral in CD sales. Cuts in arts funding. Exponentially increasing competition for logarithmically aging audiences. Who would wear a happy face in the face of all these unhappy goings-on?
Despair not. There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so, quoth Hamlet (Act 2, Scene 2.)
The Pianobabbler thinks good, and thinks no one has cause to surrender to anxiety.
CD sales are down, but music sales remain strong. Dinosaur major labels feel the bite, but myriad independent artists have discovered new ways to thrive. Government support has diminished, but it either has not disappeared completely, or has in part been made up with private money. Plus, the costs or recording and producing music have tumbled.
People retain a roiling passion for music. They listen to music in multitudes. They debate it. They blog, tweet, post, like, email, FB, poke, prod and make it. They go out and listen to it performed.
People continue to support us, the musical proletariat, labouring with love at our art, which art is also our business.
We need not fear the relentless change swirling in the musical ecosphere, and we ought not interpret it as apocalyptic.
Music is evolving, rising and falling, systole and diastole, here today there tomorrow, growing. Not dying.
So, the Pianobabbler sends his warmest musical welcome to 2011. Who knows what it will hold. Who knows if he'll make rent next month. Whatever the case, the Pianobabbler will be there playing away, happy to make music that makes others happy. Thinking so has made it so.
The Pianobabbler has babbled.
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