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Lehigh Valley | Easton, Pennsylvania

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"One needs a voice teacher to learn singing technique, to solidify his singing foundation, and to add more delicate techniques as he continues his progress. Strengthening, training, and stamina-building are taught and drilled in the voice lessons. A voice teacher suggests and assigns repertoire; first, as a learning tool, later as a showcase to be added to the student's own portfolio."

Value of musicians

He says | She says

Pradichaya Poonyarit Voice Studio | Lehigh Valley, Easton, PA

He says:

Pradichaya Poonyarit Voice Studio | Lehigh Valley, Easton, PAMusic is one of the most important parts of our lives. Who has never sung, whether in the car or in the shower? Who has never tapped his fingers or feet along to the a rhythm of a song he heard on the radio? Tunes are stuck in our heads for hours sometimes despite our best efforts, and we hear music everywhere: from elevators to commercials to people humming on the street.

To call oneself specifically a musician, then, is to acknowledge not only that music plays an even more central part in one's life than the already extensive role it plays in everyone's, but that in doing so there is a pursuit of excellence that can be achieved only through both talent and diligence.

This cannot be overstated. Because nearly everyone- at one time or another, and sometimes even more often- engages in musical activities, it is often extraordinarily difficult for a professional musician to be taken seriously. After all, music is something we all do, so how can one person's musical activities be viewed so qualitatively differently?

There is also the fact that music, viewed as our birthright, is not something so arcane as to be valued in the same way as, say, a doctor's medical knowledge or an electrician's ability to repair faulty wiring. How can someone be paid to do something that we all understand - at least to some degree?

Most of society's professionals are able to command the fees they do, not simply because of the services they provide, but because they have put in those countless hours of work beforehand that enable them now to provide us with the best service money can buy. Yet, professional musicians put in no less time- in practicing, in rehearsing, in developing technique, in learning music- and still the perception so often is that their fees, if they are even lucky enough to be paid at all, are only for the performance itself: as if all that preparation is conveniently forgotten and the audience is simply amazed at the performer's "natural talent." Now, there are extremely gifted musicians whose talents extend toward and beyond the prodigious; just as, I'm sure, there are medical prodigies and engineering prodigies. Most, though, just have an aptitude which is buoyed by years of training and hard work.

So, the next time we hear a great musical performance we should think about all the hours the musicians must have put in to make it happen: assign to it an hourly rate and see what kind of a deal we're getting. Above all, we must resist the urge of assuming that a professional musician is just like everyone else and that he needn't be paid. It's a lot of work to put on a good performance, just as it's a lot of work to be a good doctor.

Now, there's no question that in a strictly utilitarian sense music isn't as valuable as medical or electrical knowledge, but - remember those rhetorical questions at the beginning? - most would agree that it is indeed centrally important to our lives. Just because its value is not of the same kind, though, is no reason for it to be any less respected. I can put on a band-aid as well as the next person, but I still pay my doctor. We all can hum in the shower, but we should pay our musicians, too.

She says:

Pradichaya Poonyarit Voice Studio | Lehigh Valley, Easton, PA"I am a musician and a teacher. It is my responsibility to share with people our side of the story; to raise awareness, to provide information, and, hopefully, to help society change its perceptions and come to recognize and accept the music profession and the professionals within it."

Most things develop and change over time. Unfortunately, the way society values its musicians has never changed. Musicians simply are not valued as much as other career professionals.

This isn't anything new. When I was just a pre-toddler my parents already recognized my musical talent. If I had been born perhaps twenty-five years later, I would have been given the proper treatment reserved for a child prodigy. Instead, my parents did everything in their power to make sure that I would not become a child musician. When everything failed, my mother went as far as trying to take away my confidence. ("You aren't that good, everyone is better than you.") All for one reason: that I would not be successful financially were I to become a musician.

The ironic thing was that even though I was not allowed "singing" lessons I was still permitted a short period of piano lessons so that I could put on my fine white dress, pink ribbon in my hair, along with matching lace socks and shoes, as I "showed" our family friends that I was a fine young lady because I looked good as I played Bach's Minuet in G. Unfortunately, the emphasis was placed on how well I looked rather than how well I played. The younger version of me was flustered by the whole thing, since the guests were too busy giving me compliments on how pretty I looked, and not how well I played.

However, my story isn't the only one: there are many others whose stories share similarities. But the question to ask is why. We know why they (parents) thought that being a musician is a bad thing, but why is it that everyone thinks, and even accepts, that a musician is both a poor career choice and poor -as to starving, with no means to put bread on the table?

I ended up a musician anyway: a road difficult to travel only because one doesn't fight only his own fight, but also all the other whirlwinds of misconception and prejudgment that hit him from every direction. I politely but steadily stand my ground and do my job the best, in the hope that each time I get a step closer to bringing added value to my profession. I must be crazy, but the more people I run into who ignorantly ignore the value of musicians - of what I do - the more my determination strengthens. My only tool is to keep making music, sharing the artistry, softening people's hearts, and telling people how proud I am to be a musician, as I continue giving.

You may find some of the answers in R Schatzki's article. There are more, but this is a good start.

Are you ready to open your heart?

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