Dan Cousart

Let me start off with a simple question: what did your friends do this weekend? If they are college students, they probably went to a bar or went to a party, hung out with a small group of friends or spent the night studying or watching a movie. Maybe you were with them, maybe not. Maybe your fake ID didn’t work when you were trying to get into a bar, maybe your significant other just broke up with you and you felt like staying in, maybe you spent the weekend at home with your family, maybe it was raining and thought “naaaa”.

Well, I did none of the above. People like myself who are trying to be full-time musicians did something probably very different than the average Joe this weekend. We played a show that five people came to, we played a show that one hundred people came to. We played a bar, we played a house. We played at our friend’s place, we played six hours away. We recorded in a high tech studio or we recorded in our basement or in our bedrooms with our laptops. We wrote a string quartet, made a stadium rocker or we made a beat with our computer key pad.

Living as a touring musician in college is a strange balance. The desire to play music and play for people is so strong that you take your Fridays off to drive down to South Carolina. The desire is so strong you cancel dates, you miss hanging out with your other friends, you miss assignments and you miss classes in order just to practice or to play that one show. You sleep on beer soaked floors that you and forty other people stood on mere hours ago or you sleep on a musty old couch. You spend hundreds of hours driving, and even more money just to cover the gas, something you’d be lucky enough to get just to break even.

Why do we do this? Why do we put ourselves through this? Well, to be honest, the reward is worth it. It’s worth the thousands of hours practicing, it’s worth the stress of having to book shows and barely cover expenses. It’s worth the financial and academic struggles. Just to be able to travel the country and play for people is enough. The idea of making your own records and having people around the country love what you’re doing is enough to put yourself through some tough times.

Playing music is a drug. It’s some of the most fun you can have and it sure as hell beats working in an office. The idea of making friends all around and experiencing something exciting is intoxicating. I want to be a full time professional musician someday, but for now, I have to take Accounting 110 and try not to do too badly.