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The Emerging Artist
Fun With the Encyclopedia
By Leon Olguin, Edited by Sheryl Olguin

© 2000, Leon & Sheryl Olguin. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission

Here's a bit of fun I found in the encyclopedia:

The Musician
"In most of the world's societies, musicianship requires talent, special knowledge or training, and effort, and the view is widespread that a successful musical work or performance is difficult to achieve. There is no evidence that superior musical abilities arise in one society or race as opposed to another; rather, variations in achievement are the result of differences in technology, in the degree of specialization of musicians, and in the value placed on music. Individual talent, however, is recognized among most peoples, and the musical specialist exists everywhere: as a true professional in the West, India, the Far East, and Africa; as an informal leader and singer in folk cultures; and as someone who also has supernatural power in tribal societies. But if music is regarded as indispensable everywhere, the musician has rarely enjoyed great prestige. In certain early societies in Europe and America, for example, musicians were regarded as undesirable social deviants; this remains the case in the present-day Middle East. In many societies music is relegated to outsiders-foreigners or members of religious and ethnic minorities. Many modern social systems, including those in the West, inordinately reward the outstanding 'star' performer but pay little attention to the average musician. Nevertheless, musicianship in most parts of the world requires long periods of concentrated study, extending in the case of European and Indian virtuosos to some 20 years." (Taken from Microsoft Encarta '97)

Did you notice the part in there about how musicians "rarely enjoy great prestige?" Or how about being regarded as "undesirable social deviants?" Nice, eh?

Actually, the part that really caught my attention was how in our social system, the "star" performer is inordinately rewarded, and the "average" musician virtually ignored. I'll take it one step further. Sometimes the "star" performer is not as skilled as the "average" musician. They may have become "stars" through connections in the industry, the behind the scenes work of many songwriters, producers, and image-makers, and sometimes through pure luck.

Are you one of those "average musicians?" Take heart. You may have more ability than many "stars." You may have fans that are more devoted to you. You may have more freedom to express yourself musically and lyrically. Perhaps you started out wanting to become a star, and then you realized after a while that it was enough to be able to write and play music, and share it with an audience. There is absolutely no shame in not being famous.

Just as our society tends to inordinately reward the outstanding "star" performer, it also tends to inordinately punish that same performer. Our culture tends to place stars up on an impossibly high pedestal, and then summarily knock them off (some stars help knock themselves off the pedestal??Šjust watch any episode of VH1's "Behind the Music" and you'll know what I mean). The star may remain famous, but they are "fallen." Sometimes they are even placed up on the pedestal again, only to be knocked off once more. There are a few who manage to stay on the pedestal, and become "legends" of a sort, but the percentage of musicians who reach this status is pretty low.

So to all "average" musicians, remember this: you are as important as any star. You may never be on the cover of "Spin," or "Rolling Stone," but if there are people who love your music and support what you do, and you're true to your art, that's what really matters. Now, if circumstances are such that you do become a "star," stay grounded, and surround yourself with genuine friends so that whatever pedestals your fans and the media put you on, or knock you off, you don't lose yourself in the process. Star or "unsung" star, don't forget to tell all your friends about the Muse's Muse!


A short bio:
Leon and Sheryl Olguin are the owners of S.O.L.O. Productions, a music production and digital media company, founded in 1990.

Sheryl Olguin: Sheryl is a performing songwriter with three independent releases and several published and recorded tunes to her credit. She has an extensive background in digital media. She led strategic Internet initiatives at Harris Corp, and later was responsible for the interactive digital TV demonstrations on the Harris/PBS DTV Express nationwide tour to promote digital television.

Leon Olguin: Leon is an arranger, producer, and recording engineer with two independent instrumental releases and numerous published and recorded compositions to his credit. He's a classically trained pianist with a BA in music theory and composition. He's had extensive experience as a studio musician, live performer, and music minister/director. His song "White as Snow" reached the status of classic worship song faster than any other song in the history of contemporary Christian music.

You can learn more about S.O.L.O. Productions, and about our studio, by visiting us at http://www.soloproductions.net/.

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