Christmas 2016 - Cheers and beers!

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Christmas 2016 - Cheers and beers!

Post by guitarsatbmusic » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:40 pm

For a bloke who runs a music shop, primarily focussed on guitars, I play far less guitar compared to what I did before I opened the shop. It’s an irony that has always confounded me, and I’ve never really worked out why it exists. It’s not an irony that necessarily troubles me, because it’s a trade-off. My role has afforded me the opportunity to give others a start in their own musical journey, too numerous to count over more than a decade and a half of the store and my years of teaching before that. It’s no big sacrifice to give up a few hours of noodling for myself so that I might be able to spend time helping a kid buy his first guitar or ukulele, or showing someone just starting out how to play some of their favourite music, so that they might be inspired to carry on learning. Selling an instrument worth many thousands of dollars to a seasoned professional or selling a $100 guitar to a keen beginner elicits the same immovable grin stretched across the face of the instrument’s new owner. The promise of a new instrument is the great leveller across those of all proficiencies. It will never cease to get old to me, and when the day comes that I don’t get to experience that, it will be the one thing I’ll miss most.

This year I founded a community driven project that I believe in very strongly, and, as a result, met many people from different walks of life and in different roles, from the private sector to the public. I’ve never before been engaged with anyone from the public sector in a professional capacity, aside from getting stitched up in an emergency room or explaining to a police officer that my panel van was not worthy of a defect notice. I mean in the capacity where I reached out for assistance in progressing an idea I had and making it a reality. Never.

I’ve known many people who work in these sort of public service roles, just didn’t really know what they did, and most probably don’t like much talking about what they do at work. My eyes were opened up to a number of departments and individuals who were there to assist in to progress almost anything. People who I, and I expect most like me, had no idea were available to me. Some of these individuals are as passionate about their roles and what they are trying to achieve in them as many musicians I know are passionate about their craft. These individuals have their own paradoxes and ironies they must battle, and it’s the very description of their employment which creates a paradox in and of itself, “public service”. Not those on the frontline of policing and healthcare and other emergency services, but those “in the back”. Although they very likely face their own bureaucratic nightmares, those who give of themselves in those frontline roles are universally respected and celebrated, or at least should be.
Even from my limited interaction with the side of how our governments function that we don’t ordinarily see, I saw great ideas and creative solutions from public sector staff cut off that little but further up the food chain of Government. Those individuals continue to work tirelessly to bring about change despite what they must experience day in, day out in bureaucracy.

If I had not become involved in the project, I doubt I’d ever realise what some of those employed in the public sector do to press for change, to agitate and advocate for something other than the status quo. How would our Governments perform if these people weren’t a part of the picture? If you think they’re sailing a poor course now, imagine how that course would be if there were no rudder attached.

I pondered whether the Government, lurching from one thought bubble to another, in the face of a declining manufacturing base in Australia, very acutely felt in my local region with the closure of GM Holden looming, couldn’t learn a thing or two from the music industry.
Here’s an industry that has been in a state of change through advancements in technology for more than 100 years, and affected by changes in consumer tastes since the first notes were ever played. In only a couple of decades, commercial music has bounced from vinyl and cassettes to Laser Discs, Mini Discs and Compact Discs, VHS to DVD, MTV to YouTube, to iTunes, non-terrestrial radio, to streaming, back to vinyl, and even more in between.

Before that, commercial music was affected by huge developments, such as the advent of sheet music, the invention of player pianos, then the radio, home organs and synthesisers, prohibition, World Wars, union strife, you name it. The industry has faced unparalleled competition from gaming consoles, smart phones and other forms of home entertainment, yet managed to adapt and even piggy back yet more revenue streams out of what are, at first glance, the music industry’s main competitors to people’s attention. To this day, new delivery systems, new revenue streams, and completely new ways of doing almost everything aside from playing the notes emerge rapidly.

There may not be as much directly quantifiable or calculable money floating around in the industry. As a result there is more revenue than ever before that’s not counted by the antiquated big label system, or not accounted for in the ways they traditionally may have done, and not reflected in the stats one might come across. So maybe it’s not all as dire as it may seem. It’s certainly not the first time the industry’s financial model has irrevocably shifted, but hopefully it leads to the last shift, that being the one where the artist owns and controls much more. It is heading that way, that much is undeniable.

It’s still feeding a lot of mouths and, whilst there are still huge inequities surrounding where the income is spread, it’s always improving and empowered and educated artists and their teams continue to work toward improving that further.

That’s achieving a lot on the back of just 12 little notes. I wonder what a musician who’s made their mark with those 12 notes might be able to do with a trillion-dollar economy. I don’t mean a 1989-era Axl Rose or Nikki Sixx, although that would make for a fun party, albeit short-lived, rather a switched on, savvy career musician and all his or her like-minded mates at the top table. I wonder how much more service those in the public service will be getting their work to the public as they intended it to be.

Anyone, no matter their work or their life situation, I hope you’re able to find an upside to a paradox you may face. If you haven’t found that upside, I hope the holidays and the symbolic approach of a New Year are welcome respite, a chance to refocus, or to sow new seeds to take you in a new direction. If music can start with just 12 little notes, what have you got to work with in the year ahead? And if you don’t think you have a whole lot to work with, then go back to those 12 notes, play a few of them, you always have those. What can be created with those notes transcends it all.

The winds of change continue to blow through the part of this industry I have chosen to spend most of my adult life in, and 2017 will be no different. It’s always evolving and we’re always adapting. There are already changes afoot for next year, one can never rest.
As has been the case for more than 15 years, my family and I are solely reliant on those who have chosen to shop with us or support us in other ways, or both. We are eternally thankful and always appreciative beyond what I can aptly put in to words each year.

This year I noticed something most humbling. The children of some of our first customers are now young, active musicians themselves, some making a go of it as their vocation, some immersing themselves in music as their treasured pastime to the lives they are building. They’re now customers and friends of ours like their parents before them, and the generations, more often than not both continue to pursue music. The pride on the face or in the voice of a parent I’ve been privileged to have as a customer for many years who comes in with their offspring to show off their talents, or when they e-mail or call to share the achievements of their kids, is unmistakable.

Thank you for the privileges I enjoy in my job, they will never be forgotten. Have a safe, happy Christmas and I earnestly hope all have a prosperous and fulfilling New Year.

I appreciate your taking the time to cast an eye across my thought spew. I have no idea what’s going to come out when I sit to compose my annual epistles a couple of days shy of the big day. I have nothing but a year’s worth of humble gratitude and an overactive mind to work with. I hope it was worth your time, thank you, sincerely.

They're growing....
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016 Australian ESP Dealer of the Year

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Re: Christmas 2016 - Cheers and beers!

Post by » Sat Dec 24, 2016 9:27 pm

Cheers Shane, here's to a great 2017, to you and your family, all the friends on here and FB and musicians in general, we lost a few this year, may the coming year ROCK!!
noob_pwn wrote:when i hear the term "tyrant bloodstorm" i think of my ex on the rag.

Be EXCELLENT to each other and PARTY on Dudes!

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