What does it mean to be a professional musician? It means all the fun stuff, like playing out in front of thousands of screaming fans and touring the world, experiencing the energy of each culture. It means tireless hours in the studio, on a tour bus, or preparing for gigs. To Kent Aberle, it also means being inspired by young hopeful musicians who are in awe and dying to know, "How can I do that?"
When Kent isn't touring the United States and China with Australia's red-haired rockers, the On-Fires, or filling in with numerous Atlanta-based music acts, or running a drum shop and bringing together the Atlanta Drum Collective, you might find him at an elementary school, helping the next generation of musicians hone their craft. It was on such an occasion in Arlington, Va., that Kent realized his desire to influence and mentor kids, as they flooded him with eager questions about what it's like to be a professional musician on tour in China. Their excitement fueled his ambition to bring the experience of touring and playing music professionally to life for these kids and the countless others with their heart set on music.
With an upcoming July tour in Taiwan with the On-Fires, where they will be playing the Hohaiyan Rock Festival in front of hundreds of thousands of festival-goers, Aberle saw an opportunity to describe his life as a musician with more than just words. He plans to document the trip and festival performance with a video, and the footage will be used for a documentary film, which Aberle will use as part of a presentation for kids who are interested in music as a career.
Along with bringing a true perspective of what it takes to survive as a musician outside of the glamorized rock star life as seen on MTV, Aberle will touch on the obstacles ahead, particularly remaining true to yourself.
"Not from a musical style standpoint, as it helps to be able to play all styles of music to survive as a musician, but from a determination standpoint," Aberle says. "There are constant tests to see how badly you want to play music for a living: physical tests, financial tests, personal tests, relationship tests. The most important thing is to have the mindset to not only take on those tests and discomforts, but to actually live for those tests, knowing that you will pass them. It's about being humble and thankful about having the ability to play music every day and making that the end goal."
Even professional musicians ask for donations, and Aberle has launched an Indie Go Go campaign to help raise the funds to complete this outreach project. The kids are counting on you.
Check out Aberle's daily video updates.
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