Your Originality Hero: Monte Skelton
When those who know Monte think of him, many ask, “What doesn’t he do?” His reputation as a positive, talented, and hard working individual is seen everywhere he goes. While many in the Indiana Tri-state area know him as the former voice of jazz on the radio on 91.5 FM WUEV, others know him as a talented saxophonist that is seen and heard at many community events. Monte is also known in the schools as a very influential woodwind instructor who has helped many music students from the ages of 5-80 further their appreciation and love for the musical arts. “I truly believe that if the students aren’t having fun with the music they’re playing, they won’t practice it and they won’t get better. It’s much harder to memorize something you don’t like than it is to remember something you love,” Monte says. Along with being a saxophonist, Monte also plays EWI, flute, clarinet, oboe, electric bass, percussion, trombone, and many other instruments. He has over 10,000 hits on his YouTube Channel, and has a great online following from around the world. He has played the woodwinds and bass guitar in many local musicals, percussion in the University of Evansville’s wind ensemble, and electric bass in the University of Evansville’s jazz ensemble and pep bands, and has performed in the U.S. Virgin Islands with jazz vocalist Sherrie Bias. Currently he performs with the group “Skelton’s Montourage” and “Factor:Primo,” and serves as the music educator at Joshua Academy Elementary Charter School.
Good morning, everyone!
First of all, I want to thank you all for taking the time to read this post. Artists, in their many forms, use their time and energy to create a way for the consumer (that’s us) to peer into their heart, soul, feelings, and/or dreams. Whether that be through music, visual arts, creative writing, or even food, their creations are, well, just that: their creations. Throughout history, we have seen remarkable works from many different artists in many different forms. However, as technological advancements continue to flourish over time, it has become increasingly easier for others to ‘replicate’ works of art. This has, of course, created problems for original artists, who have put their time, energy, and resources into their craft. How would you feel if you invested your time and money into a product that someone else is taking the credit and money for?
This is where copyright protection comes in. In general, copyright means the sole right to produce or reproduce a work or a substantial part of it in any form. The protection helps the artist keep the rights to his/her creations, and lets them reap the benefits of their work. As a musician who loves to create music, this is very important to me. The majority of musicians (and artists in general) do not make a lot of money for the time that they put into their work. Copyright protection makes it so that I can write my music, produce it, and sell it to the public without having to worry about someone stealing my ideas or songs and profiting from it.
That being said, I’m also in what is called a ‘cover band,’ which basically means a band that plays popular music for various events. While performing these songs does not break laws, there are specific companies and copyright protections that make sure that the original artists still benefit from what they created. If you are interested in the specifics, check out BMI Music or ASCAP and see how they protect the artists while still giving other musicians an opportunity to perform the same music.
Copyright protection does sometimes sound quite scary, especially if you are a musician like myself. However, it is definitely there for our benefit: If we all played the same same songs the same way all the time, music would get really boring, VERY quickly! :-) Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my post!
So what can you do to protect the livelihood of talented musicians like Monte? If copyright didn’t protect him on his rise to stardom, would that make his work easier or harder? Why? Other than the artist themselves, who else gets paid when you purchase a track on iTunes or GooglePlay? How do you think you would you feel if someone used your creative work? Would it make a difference whether they did the following:
- Asked your permission to use it?
- Gave you credit as the creator?
- Changed the picture or added a caption without asking you?
What do you think it means to use someone else’s creative work responsibly? Does it matter how and where you use it?