It's always interesting to read your thoughts-even a month ago. I am seriously a new person now that this thesis is behind me and as of this morning I PASSED!!! So I'm now Master Zanussi :) That process taught me so much. How I can truly be present in every moment and frankly, who my true friends are, who I miss seeing, and frankly, who I don't. It also was wonderful to know those hours didn't go to waste as they're already resulting in one international conference (if not two) come 2018. I don't say this to be boastful, but rather to show that hard work almost always pays off. There's not really a secret to doing something except working really hard. I had a nonprofit breakfast with Kate Barr, CEO of now Propel Nonprofits who essentially said just that and I couldn't agree more. There's no magical skill or technique I do except to keep doing, even when it gets rough. Now that I'm behind it, I can say there were multiple moments this fall where I truthfully felt I couldn't do it, that I truthfully was doomed (optimistic I know). But here we are, on the other side. The "secret"? Faith, determination, and persistence.
I wanted to respond to my last post and how my thoughts on choir and being a musician continue to evolve. I'm singing with a professional chamber group this week and the director truly knows his stuff! He not only can tell you every single word, but how the music aligns with the text, and then we get to do that!!! After doing a paper that talked about how important context is, it's been wonderful to walk the walk and not just writing about/observing it, but fully experiencing it! I've been writing about the impact music has on people without having that presence in my life so this week has been such a wonderful reignition how important that is for me! The project I'm singing with is definitely not community music, but the musical excellence has been such a necessity and refresher of my musical soul I haven't had for years. I've sang concerts, but this time I am so excited and want everyone and their mom and aunt and nephew to come see because we've worked hard and the music is so rarely performed I want people to learn about it!!
But are we focusing on community? No, but it's still rewarding. I think what I'm realizing is, in contrast to my last post, I don't know if it has to be an either/or. Sometimes I think I'd like to do projects like this one where we focus on the musical excellence and sometimes I'd really like to focus on the community aspect. But I think the difference I'm realizing is that a musician DOES NOT have to choose between the two! In music schools we're only taught the former and I am striving to find a balance between both (with my professional 100% focused on the latter). So I AM still a musician, and even a classical one at that, at times, but I don't have to stay in that box-I can be a classical musician who is meticulous with notes, rhythms, phrasing, diction, dynamics, AND I can be a potluck jamming improv musician AND I can be a musician that focuses on building community, inclusion, social goals, etc. etc. Only I can define what musicianship means for me!