Now all you musicians know what I’m talking about, FREE GIGS. We have all done our fair share of free gigs – charities, house concerts, weddings, receptions. YOU NAME IT.

Did you know that us musicians start our training very young, and basically have devoted pretty much ALL of our lives to music? While other children are playing outside, WE are practising; when others go to parties, WE are practising. Music is NOT just an entertainment, at least not for the musicians. It is a profession too, which requires an enormous amount of motivation, ambition, patience and love. And a LOT of tears. This is how we make a living. It is not about the money, but respect.

Just today, I was asked to ‘play a little concert’ to entertain some dinner guests. After I declined three times, the guest INSISTED that I play something, ‘since I already have the cello here’. For one, I am not a millionaire (like she), and secondly, this is my profession, to which she obviously had no respect whatsoever. Don’t get me wrong, if I wanted to, I would have offered to play something, for free. But it should be my choice, and my choice alone. Not only did she abuse my profession, she had zero respect for musicians.

This is not the first time this had happened to me. That is why I have decided to write this blog. I don’t like to whine. Much. But please, PLEASE, respect musicians and what we had to overcome to achieve what we have today. Nothing is for free. Not lawyers, not plumbers, and certainly not music. It is time musician say ‘no’ to free concerts and get what we deserve. After all, like everybody else, we do not survive on air alone. I have sacrificed enough on music, do not make me lose my dignity too.

Linda Lin and all classical musicians