The professional musician is often heard to say, "We couldn't do this without our fans." For the traditional musician, who may spend more on his or her instrument than he or she makes from performance for several years running, that statement could be rewritten: "We couldn't do this without the place to gather together, without the opportunity to learn from and teach each other, and without the audience who responds to what we do."
The presence of both audience and the visiting performer motivates the musician to perfect his or her musical skills, to develop the ability to communicate through performance and to reach out to other musicians through musical improvisation. The musician certainly needs to have talent for expression, but talents are built, developed, and perfected by means of performance and demonstration.
Local traditional music venues have already proven to be the grade schools and grad schools for some of the world's finest musicians. These venues -- informal institutions for higher learning -- and the audiences that keep them going support our local musicians and have been the developing grounds for those whose musical creativity we cherish.