Friday, October 11, 2013

The Bard,

Young man,

 I have a bit of advice for you if you're apt to listen, and if not I understand for so it was when I was your age, not willing to listen, because in my mind I knew most everything, (I believed)

The Bard (Musician) is an extremely noble endeavor, a calling much like a doctor or preacher.
It's something one has a passion to do and is appointed to, not a task one says "I'm going to be a bard because that famous, rich man does it, and I want to be famous and rich like him" 
But you must understand that being a Bard can be fraught with great difficulty and heartbreak, as well as great jovial kinship and a lifetime of pleasure, enjoyment, and friendship.

You must know that the craft of the Bard starts young and requires intensive study and practice, giving up pleasures your youthful mates strive for and enjoy, in order that you may become very skillful.
 Later, the Bard's job requires perseverance and a stubborn unwillingness to give up, and there will most definitely be times when you want to give up. You must know that not everyone is capable of such long term determination and patience.
The Bard's task is not for the greedy, nor materialistic wanting great wealth and material gain, because, while
some periods of a bard's career, he will enjoy hearty employment and great financial rewards (as well as other great rewards, such as seeing other distant lands), other times will be endured with financial hardship and loss of material wealth, and sometimes, even friendship and loss of family because of the song's very nature, and because the calling of the bard can be very demanding in ways not observable to those who don't work in it.

Those who do become well known Bards have to be very careful so as not to be taken advantage of by the greedy...whether for their notoriety, or, by those who seek to be well known themselves, just using the Bard's fame and influence for their own gain. Even at times, being wary of those who are close to you...It's up to you to decipher who, among your friends are truly loyal, or, they've become friends and even closer than friends, because they want to be close to you for their own advantage and gain.

You will find, (If you've worked hard and studied your craft well) in your career as a bard, that you may play for the extremely rich and famous, the wealthy and elite of society, even kings presidents and princes, and the next week you may find yourself playing for the homeless man on the street, or the very poor in a part of the city most of your friends will not venture into. As a bard myself since I was your age, I've found that the poor and destitute, the lower class (so called) are by far the better audience for the bard, simply because the rich and famous are too self important and too worried about moving up in their circle of self important friends to notice at their large and very expensive parties, that you're there for their enjoyment and pleasure, not to make themselves feel more important among their self important peers. The poor, you will find, listen to you, and appreciate your gift and skill as a bard much more, although they have not much to give you for your performance.

 Most of your Fellow Bard's will toil away for much of their lives in relative obscurity, just knowing that in their craft they were well respected in their sphere of influence, whether wide, or small, for their mastery of their chosen instrument (or instruments).
You must understand that the work of the Bard is not understood by many, and that the calling of the Bard is not one of being served, but one of service to others bringing great enjoyment and a very welcome respite from the dreary, work a day world of men.

 Because the Bards work is one of service to others, many times those you serve (perform for) will (sometimes) be obstinate, brash, unkind, very demanding, and even hateful and cruel, but most will be very happy you are providing your song for themselves and their compatriots, for the compensation of you being able to feed and house yourself and your family, which is not too much to ask.

As you work at the Bard's craft in time (If that's what you decide to do), you will come across many different types of bards, confident, not at all confident, arrogant, humble, very gregarious and loud, and very quiet and introverted. Many bards will admit that they are a broken and non assuming lot, not being arrogant and overconfident, but not lacking in confidence either, however, you will find that those who are cocky and much too overconfident are many times those without much skill at the song at all.

Many in the Bards service believe that our calling is a very high one, and so believe that the gift and ability to
perform as a bard is from the one true creator of the song, and use their bards gift to lead the people of the creator of songs in worship, which is a very high calling indeed, while others are simply happy using their gift of the song for men's pleasure and entertainment, and some bards, like myself, do both, because that's what we've been asked to do.

I hope this letter has not seemed in any way arrogant or condescending and assuming, but instead, a handing down of hopefully, some knowledge of a long time bards near lifetime of experience that may be helpful...

But over drums and piercing fifes,
Beyond the soldiers' hails
They swell the song, five hundred strong
Those martyred bards of wales

The Bards of Wales-Janos Arany. 1857-Translation by Peter Zollman

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