Many professional musicians endure years of arduous study and hours of dedicated practice. They pay for lessons and invest in their instruments and equipment. They spend months on the road. They often take on second jobs to make ends meet. They are beset by vocational hazards that include trigger finger, hearing loss, tendinitis, and vocal chord nodules. And today, with sweeping changes to the music industry, they are confronted with increasingly uncertain payment for their work. At the same time, they face issues of illness, aging and unexpected personal setbacks as we all do.
But for most professional musicians, there is no financial safety net. Steady employment is rare. There is no automatic workman’s compensation, pension plan or benefits package for the artists who give their musical gifts to the world. When real trouble comes, musicians too often lack the ability to afford medical care, maintain permanent housing or secure basic living expenses. A single hospital bill can tip the balance for a hardworking musician from solvency to poverty.