This recent Sunday as I was on my way to get some afternoon practicing done, I heard the loud voices of crowds, brass bands, and music in the distance. When I walked up to see the commotion I noticed that there was a festival of sorts, Oktoberfest I soon found out. It was an interesting sight to behold. There was a large number of young people enjoying delicious smelling foods from all over the world with their beers, live entertainment acts which included a mime and a young gentleman riding a unicycle and jumping on a pogo stick, and live music.
What struck me later as odd was my lack of awareness in noting the music. One would think that, as a musician, I would be more inclined to actively listen seek out the live music. The only thing that I did notice was that there was a alternative-rock style band playing when I walked past. Although this style music is not my absolute favorite genre, I still thoroughly enjoy it as anyone can easily find out by looking at my iTunes playlists. However, I cannot ignore the fact that I did not give the musicians my full attention.
In my past experiences performing in venues with large crowds, I appreciated anyone who came to listen to me (or the band I was playing with) even if just for a minute. Moreover, I feel that although these people who listen may not particularly be giving the performer(s) money, their sheer presence alone can be deemed as "support" for that said artist. With that said, people listening can do a great deal of good for the artist's morale.
With the previous having been said, I believe that fellow musicians should fully support our brethren in their musical outlets. How can we, as artists, expect to receive support for our works if we do not do any supporting ourselves?
This may seem a little bit extreme given that the band playing at Harvard Square must have already been well established since it was playing at a crowded venue such as Oktoberfest. However, I think on the micro scale, attending concerts frequently of our friends and colleagues in the music world can do more help for them then we may give credit to. After attending Oktoberfest, I realized that I need to improve my active listening skills. In addition, I also realized that giving five minutes of my time to listen to a local band perform may make a small, but significant difference in the future.