…and by play, I mean “do your thing”. I know this blog is read by all kinds of people who have nothing to do with cello: members of the military, lindy hoppers, business owners, retired folks (whose schedules are now more crammed than they were pre-retirement).
In terms of answering this, I teeter between the Pema Chödron mindset of non-attachment, staying in the present moment and being ok with wherever you are in life and the more emotional, westernized school of thought where the primary competition is within yourself…
…and you end up beating the hell out of everyone else if you’re consistently disciplined and aggressive in your practice.
Really, it’s just two sides of the same coin. I define beating the hell out of everyone else as living well. Being happy. Setting your own goals and reaching them. I beat the hell out of everyone else when I was hired to teach at a community college. It was my victory because it was an outlet for the desire to teach non music majors. I have no desire to teach at Peabody or Juilliard- not because they’re not great, because they are. I want to teach music to people who are not already inclined to love it. I like the hard sell. That is where my evangelism is most potent, so that is the environment I seek. From the outside, it might have looked like the meagre shadow of success, but I know better.
Alas, I digress.
This morning, I saw a story on SportsCenter featuring Thomas Robinson, a player for the Kansas Jayhawks.
It reminds me to the vigilant against certain bourgeois and self-indulgent tendencies of the music world. You know, the practice room temper-tantrum where you consider quitting because a note vexes you. The list of excuses for not doing one thing or another. The frailty of allowing a setback to derail you. The moaning about how things are not ideal and wading knee-deep in self doubt.
I know these tendencies well because I fight against them every day, winning only part of the time. I use tendencies found in musicians as an example, but their analogues are easy to identify in every life. What a load of horsesh*t. (a technical term)
It was good to start my day with this story. I am reminded of the people I love, and those I’ve lost. My heart could burst; because though I can easily devote my efforts to them, there’s no escaping reality: they’re the ones who actually carry me.