When Your Audiences Don’t Seem to Care… Plus Invitation to Roundtable

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(Plus, invitation to roundtable conversation on how to align your livelihood as an artist with your Soulforce. See below.)
One of the most frustrating experiences as a musician or artist is creating something beautiful only to discover that your audiences don’t seem to care. You’re playing music for a restaurant and nobody’s really listening. You’ve worked for months on an art exhibit, and only a handful of people show up. You’re giving your young music students your best in your lessons, but then they don’t practice. When this happens, it hurts.
Why does it hurt? Simply put: you are wired to give your gifts well and have them be well-received. When your gifts are given well and then well-received, it feels absolutely magical. But when they’re not, a voice inside warns you with painful feelings that something essential is amiss. This is why it feels so bad when your audiences seem to be ignoring you.
However, when your audiences seem to be ignoring you, it’s actually not that they don’t care about you or your art. They do. A lot. Or rather, they will if given half a chance. What’s actually happening is that the *context* you’re both in disallows your gifts to be given well and then well-received. Change the context, and suddenly both you and your audiences will experience the magic you both long for.
Here’s an example. I absolutely love baring my soul in front of an audience through my violin music, and, in the right contexts, this is also what provides the most transcendent experiences for my audiences. Unfortunately, the right contexts have been relatively rare in my life as a professional violinist. I’ve played a lot background music gigs, for example, and in these I don’t feel as free to bare my soul because I know I’m not going to be received as richly and intimately as my soul desires. The result is that both my audiences and I suffer the lack of the magic that is otherwise possible.
In contrast, when I play my favorite kinds of shows – like house concerts – the intimacy I’m then share with my audiences opens the flood gates of my Soulforce. I can see, hear, and feel that my audiences are hungry for what my soul most longs to express. This, in turn, feeds my creative energy and allows me to give even more of myself. It’s a virtuous cycle of Soulforce.
In addition to providing a more fulfilling experience for you as an artist, it turns out that tapping into this virtuous cycle is also the key to earning a better living through your art. Here’s how. Conventional artistic gigs often feel crummy and pay poorly – and that’s not a coincidence. Lack of fulfillment and pay are precisely what happen when your gifts cannot be given or received well. After all, people won’t pay the big bucks for someone to play music while they chat over noodles. But play the same music in a venue where they have the chance to listen rapturously? Your audiences will be so grateful for the Soulforce you thus bring forth that they will naturally want to shower you with gifts in return.
Make no mistake – your Soulforce is *incredibly* valuable, and not just monetarily. Its fullest expression is needed at so many levels: for your own well-being, for the quality of your art, for the soul-level longings of your audiences, and even for the well-being of our planet overall. You most fulfilling and abundant livelihood as an artist, then, will not be found by trying to fit your art into the opportunities currently available. Rather, it will be found by seeking out or creating the opportunities where it can also be best received. This is the key to both the artistic fulfillment and financial wealth you desire. And to receive both is to experience true wealth. True wealth goes beyond the accumulation of money to include greater health, contentment, deep relationships, a sense of belonging, and more. All of this is possible when you stop trying to fit yourself into the old, conventional ways of sharing your creations, and instead focus on giving your gifts well and having them be well-received.

Does this subject matter speak to you? Please join me and several other musicians and artists in NAAS and the Sanity Project for a series of roundtable conversations in which we will re-imagine how artists can most beautifully make a dignified, sustainable, and fulfilling living.

First Roundtable: Thursday 8/31/23 12-1:30PM EST

Check back here in other posts for info on the following roundtable conversations in September 2023.

Email me at joseph@soulforcearts.com for the Zoom link.

See you then! Joseph
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