As a “seasoned” musician of over 30 years (really!!), one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is the art of saving. By that I mean money. Doesn’t matter what level you’re at, there are always “dry” times and times when it’s raining cash (well not really). Things can change in an instant. You can be gig-less one moment and a phone call or email can change everything and you can be crying for time off. The opposite is also possible. You can be the hottest musician out there and all of a sudden you can find yourself in an epic dry spell. Hence the art of saving.
Happened to me last winter. Finished a gig on December 5th and almost 4 months later I still haven’t played a live gig. Now granted I’m not really complaining as I was really busy last year and had to spend time away from home and my wife and daughter. That’s the bad thing about this business….the more successful you get, the less time you’re home.
Anyway, 4 months is a long time to go without work. This is where the art of saving comes in. It’s always great when you’re working to look at your bank account growing and it’s really hard not to start burning through that cash satisfying your “want” list. “Jeez, there is a great deal on a new $7000 bass and it would really be nice to have that in my arsenal”! But it’s a great time to reflect on what you have and what you need. Sure, I’d love that new bass but would it get me an extra seven grand worth of work? Probably not so maybe I’ll let that one pass. Of course if you need to really upgrade then have at it. My whole point is to save what you can because a month off can suddenly turn into two, three, or more and could you survive if that happened?
I’m back in the saddle in a couple weeks again, out there hitting the stage again with my buds and with that, starting to put money in the bank again. I’m always grateful for that. As much as I need to make money, I need to play music for my sanity and for my soul. The summer season is coming and festivals and one off will keep me going through to the fall tours. However I’m always aware that my situation can change in an instant so I try to be as disciplined as I can when it comes to putting money away.
You just never know!