Musicians don’t retire, they just change direction and get more picky and choosy about what they want to be doing plus…
They don’t give a fuck about what people think of them and their music anymore.
Right now, we’re past the halfway point of December, which means that we’re almost at the end of 2018, which means it’s almost Xmas time (in fact, as of today, there are 7 more sleeps until Xmas), which also means that two weeks after Xmas, it’s my birthday.
My 48th birthday.
The realisation that I’m about to embark on my 48th trip around the sun brings up a some important questions for me. Questions like:
- Am I getting too old for this music caper?
- What have/haven’t I achieved to date?
- What am I going to do next with my music/life?
Now, to some, these questions are necessary because self reflection is an important part of growing as an individual but I reckon in my case, this line of self talk has been designed by my inner critic to derail and sabotage any attempt of me taking some sort of leap of faith in 2019.
This is of course cleverly done under the guise of “being realistic” which as we all know is the nemesis of all optimists like myself.
I’ve noticed that some musicians as they get older, turn to genres like Country, or Blues, (or Roots, or Folk, or Americana, or whatever the fad/flavour is for this year) as a means to “musically retire.”
While all of the genres mentioned above all have their place to fill inside the musical landscape, retiring to these genres would be for me the musical equivalent of putting on a dressing gown, slipping on some comfortable slippers and watching TV for the rest of my life.
No, I don’t think so, not for me…
If I was going to musically retire, I would be retiring by composing and performing ambient music, soundscapes and the like. I want to walk the path that sonic pioneers like Brian Eno has been walking on for decades.
That’s where I see myself in the later stages of my music career.
However, besides my impending birthday, I was also inspired to write this because of a YouTube video created by Bill Vencil from Chords Of Orion called “You Will Become An Old Musician (Bring It On)” a perfect response to a negative comment he received about how some musicians are supposedly TOO OLD for YouTube.
I had been following Chords Of Orion on and off for a while but it wasn’t until I saw the above video that I decided to really get into what the channel was about… Ambient Music and the creation of it.
Anyways, what I’ve gathered from all of this is that there is no such thing as musical retirement. Music (and the creation of it) transcends age and therefore it also transcends the self imposed limitations around age that I sometimes put myself through.
I am so glad I am the age I am, with the knowledge and experience that I have and the ability to create music with all of those tools at my disposal. I look towards 2019 (and my 48th year) with excitement knowing that there’s some wonderful music that’s yet to be created.
Robert Fripp said it best when he described music as the “…wine that fills the cup of silence.” I say that for me, the best is yet to come.
PS: As I’m writing this I have Brian Eno’s “New Space Music” humming along in the background and I’m loving it. It’s so conducive to creation, I’m surprised I didn’t click onto this before.