I'm learning to code.
And it has everything to do with making music.
I asked a smart friend, "What is a skill that 10 years from now pays high hourly, is flexible, and mobile?" He responded with a text of 4 different coding languages. So for the past two months I've been working my way through freecodecamp as a starter.
So what does this have to do with making music?
Markets and art have a strange relationship.
The market–people buying and selling things–does not always reward great or important art. And even when it does, it's not always within the lifetime of the creator. Vincent Van Gogh sold 1 beautiful painting "The Red Vinyard." A host of other now multi million dollar pieces sat for years. The market did not reward him during his lifetime.
Forgive me if this sounds like hubris, but I want to make great music. But from all I've learned about people who made really great things, I might stumble upon something great and a) never know it and/or b) never have it rewarded by the market. Even knowing these things, I think it is worth it to make the attempt with the entirety of my life. Writers and painters and musicians gave me language that have helped me navigate life, I want to do the same for others.
So if it's worth the sacrifice and struggle, I then have a responsibility to find a way forward. No one owes me this. My community owes me kindness, compassion, and honest words of encouragement or even rebuke— but they do not owe me the privilege of gallivanting around the Midwest with a guitar in the back seat.
But I have to put food on the table.
So I try to be smart about it, to find a way to pay the bills, to live simple, to save for what's necessary, but to still have significant time to dedicate to making music and words and experiences for people. My life is not ruined if I have to work a J-O-B to support my important work for the rest of my life. So I keep looking for high hourly wage work that is flexible—guitar lessons, coding. And incidentally on the days that I recognize that these J-O-B-S make this frivilous journey possible, I am grateful for them.