Why, though, has the same not been done for musicians?
When you sign your child up for music lessons at a big music business, you should be well aware that a 30%-40% cut is being taken out of what you pay and given to the music store - not the teacher who is teaching your child. The same thing happens when you hire a group to play for your wedding or special event. If you don't see musician bios on the website, the musicians who come to play for you are probably getting paid significantly less than what they deserve.
It's understandable that everyone has to make a living, but some business owners are simply doing it WRONG. The people who have spent most of their lives working tirelessly to bring music to others deserve better than what is currently going on in our world.
Here's how you can help bring the fair trade, locally grown movement to the music industry:
1. Take lessons directly from the music teacher: It's easy! Talk to your friends, and see who their teacher is. Go see local orchestras and talk with the musicians about lessons. If you want to take with a company, make sure it is run by actual musicians with actual music degrees. A great example of a "fair trade" music company is one that is owned and run by the teachers themselves.
2. Hire the ensembles directly: Make sure when hiring an ensemble (quartets, trios, etc.) to look at their website for certain things. Make sure the quartet you're hiring is the quartet who is showing up to your event (not random high school kids - yes this happens). Do not make the mistake of hiring musicians from a website such as www.FREEWEDDINGMUSICOHMYGOSH.com- the musicians are probably not getting paid what they need to be paid, and you will not be getting the quality you deserve either.
This is an example of an actual, real live, extremely talented string quartet. Hire this kind of ensemble!
3. Rent from Luthiers: While it is tempting to rent a violin for $8.00/month, don't do it. The instruments are very poor quality and are imported from Florida. Yes, Florida. Go to a luthier - someone who makes instruments! Your money will be supporting lutheirs as well as helping you to pay for a quality instrument.
Rent and purchase from here. Not www.1dollaramonthviolin.com
4. Support the Performers Directly: Hopefully you've been keeping up with all the negotiations among professional orchestras and their management. If you haven't...it's been a crazy ride. Of course, go see performances! Buy season passes! It's worth it. Those are world class musicians and you and your children and your grandchildren should experience Beethoven, Mahler, and Mozart as often as possible. BUT make sure you donate directly to the musicians themselves. Maybe even contact your local government and demand a new facility for the performing arts - not another baseball stadium.
Donate to and promote these fantastic people. Not www.poormanagement.com.
So you started shopping at the farmers market, purchasing fair trade coffee, making your own wine, and supporting local businesses. I urge you now to do the same for music.
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