WOW! What a week!
This week my new graduate home was host to some of my heroes; The Moanin' Frogs.
If you are in music (or even if you aren't) and haven't heard of this amazing sextet, you need to look them up.
They are a FORCE in chamber music. They are enormous talents and showmen on a level that few ever attain. They cross genres with ease....seriously, they're just bad asses.
So, what in the world does this have to do with the title?
Well, part of my grad duties included playing chauffeur to guys who I really admired. Oh darn, right? In the days spent with them, however, I was reminded that for all my years on this planet, I often still don't get it.
You see, when I returned to school and realized how the saxophone world, the music world, and the concept of promotion had changed through social media, I quickly gobbled up all things saxophone. I added tons of saxophone majors and professors on platforms like Facebook and saw their education and careers unfold in ways I would have never been able to my first time around.
From seeing all this, I panicked. How was I going to hang with these folks. How was I going to compete with their success when I was too old to do competitions like MTNA and others? I was focused, I was determined. I decided that all these folks were in some sort of club to which I was an outsider. "I have to get into that club", I decided. "It's the only way I'll succeed."
Man I was ridiculous. Sharing any perceived success, constantly humble bragging, promoting myself to the nth degree. I look back at myself and my state of mind just 3-4 years ago and shake my head. I was ridiculous.
Even when I began to get grad school offers I was worried and had to look at it from the angle of 'Is it the RIGHT grad school to get respect from these guys?'
Here, kids, is the simple answer (and one I was too caught up in everything to see).
The practice rooms in Ann Arbor, Michigan work in exactly the same fashion as the ones in Bloomington, Indiana, Memphis, Tn., and Cleveland Mississippi!
The point is that I (and hopefully, you) am doing something that I love and striving to improve at it.
So why did this week remind me of that fact?
Well, here I was, with musicians whom I held in the highest regard and we were just hanging for a few days in between lessons and rehearsals. In talking to them I heard the same dreams, desires, fears, and confidence issues that I have. They're worried about getting better. They're worried that people will enjoy what they do. They're thinking about the future and wondering what it holds.
In fact, the primary difference between these giants and yours truly?
They've had more time in the practice room.
So....if you're like I was.....if you're trying to be in some sort of mythical social media based music success 'club', just stop......practice hard, love what you do, and get out and make friends who share your interests.
I did this week. It's so much more satisfying.