e are all told at one point in our lives that we possess certain gifts. Whether it is in the arts, sciences, business or humanities, we all have an instinct or natural proclivity towards something. If you’re reading this, you most likely have a proclivity for music. You’ve spent years honing your skills to a level that you and others (mainly teachers and peers) deem as praiseworthy and your main goal, your modus operandi, is to channel your passion towards an audience that will appreciate your talent. That is the main reason why many of us aspire to play in big bands and jazz orchestras in the first place. However, it becomes rather easy to lose hope when opportunity does not present itself at your door. Some of us fear taking the plunge and taking opportunity that requires small sacrifices. This is usually the case when accepting a gig on a cruise ship. We set sail for months and leave everything behind. We disconnect from what we know as home and friends for a life that we are not familiar with. But the fact remains that music is meant to be shared.
Music has one of the oldest roots in society establishing itself as a complement to ancient Greek philosophy where music was used as a mathematical and philosophical description of how the universe, in general, was perceived to be constructed— “the stars, the sun, the planets, all vibrating in harmony”. The Greeks certainly understood music as a tool for inspiring intellectuality and shaping our understanding of the world around us. When we understand the historical significance of music and its role in shaping culture and behavior it becomes clear that those who possess the gift of music ought to share it with the world.
I was once told by someone after a show: “The passion you exude when playing your instrument gives me the feeling that I can achieve what I am passionate about – I can conquer my own stage”. That is the reality of music. It draws people in, it brings people together. Cruise ships are replete with families and friends vacationing because they need to get away from the lives they live. When on board a ship, people watch shows to feel the inspiration. However, without the strong musicianship needed to support these shows, the experience loses value. If you are able to sight-read at a performance level, you have an opportunity to live a life most people wish for. Many pseudo musicians wish they could have this opportunity. But the reality is that cruise ship gigs require outstanding musicians who can adapt to any style and perform with energy and enthusiasm while reading complex charts. Cruise ships are looking for excellent musicians, people who devote themselves to performing in front of thousands of people with limited preparation. The opportunity cannot be given to everyone. Therefore, if you are given a chance it means that you are without question part of a select group of musicians and part of a musical class that few people are able to achieve in their lifetime. Share your gift with the world. Make your instrument be heard by thousands of people who rely on YOU to bring life to their vacation. People are waiting to be inspired by you. Set-sail for an opportunity of a lifetime. Be a ship musician!