After the joy of launching an EP (look to the right of screen - that's my EP), my rock music career has quietened down substantially in the last few months. Initially, I wanted to concentrate on writing songs suited more to my band (The Solution), but the band has itself faded into the background a little after our bassist moved to the other end of the state for work. We're still getting the occasional practice session in, and are steadily working towards recording an album, but it's left a lot of time in which to ponder other musical directions.
One of these has been the choir I joined last year - the Tasmanian Song Company. When I joined, I sang in the tenor section but as the number of males in the group has grown (due in part to some of my friends joining!), it became obvious that we needed more basses so I moved there instead. As time's gone on, I've found my involvement growing to the point where I found myself joining the committee and helping out on a regular basis. I've never been on any kind of committee before, but this one involves cake and cups of tea so it can't be all bad!
The other way I'm keeping myself going with music is busking. It had been a long time since I busked, so a month ago I put together a collection of covers and made my way out to Elizabeth Mall - and I've been trying to get out there every week or so. It's a great way to practice performing in front of people - something I sorely needed when I was a beginning musician years ago, but just as useful now that I've got a little more experience and want to keep my skills under pressure fresh.
Though I'm fortunately not broke enough to need the money from busking, I still find it a good way to "keep score" of how well I'm going - of course, it doesn't hurt if I make enough to buy lunch and have some change for parking meters! Over the weeks, though, I've found the money really isn't a good measure of how people are reacting to my music. A couple of weeks ago, I went out on a crowded day and only made a couple of dollars despite singing my heart out, and I was feeling pretty miserable about the whole affair. Then, in the middle of my set, an obviously down-and-out, slightly elderly lady came up to me and said very sincerely "Lovely singing - I'm sorry I don't have any money to give you."
Since then, I've gotten far more joy out of playing music I love out in the winter sun, getting a smile of recognition or a kind word from a passer-by, or watching small children dance gleefully in front of my guitar case. Sometimes it doesn't hurt to be reminded of the old cliché that money doesn't buy happiness!