• I am only Unreasonably Persistent •
In my first blog post, I talked about being unreasonably persistent in pursuit of your goals and used an analogy about waiting in line for a ride at Disneyland. You can read that blog post here.
Well what do you actually DO when "waiting in line?" Waiting sounds passive, evoking an image of you sitting or standing idly by while wishing for something to happen. That is the exact OPPOSITE of what you are doing in this “waiting in line” metaphor. In this case, waiting in line is ACTIVE! It involves a lot of hard work and dedication to your craft. The following activities are part of what I do while “waiting in line.”
Part of my flute goals are playing in an orchestra and performing as a soloist or in chamber groups. To that end, I need to keep my skills in shape! I make time for practice at least six days per week with a day off to rest. In my practice rotation are tone studies (Moyse, Wye, Bernold), technical studies (T&G, Wye, Moyse), etudes (Andersen, Berbiguier, Casterede, Donjon, JeanJean etc), repertoire, and orchestral excerpts/parts. I use video recording to help me identify issues and check on my progress. In a later blog post, I’ll talk about a few ideas I have about practicing efficiently without getting into the self-doubt spiral that nearly every musician has experienced.
This is hugely important for anyone in any artistic field. You never know who will be able to offer you some work or a helping hand in your career. I’m grateful that I can consider the flutists in my geographic area my friends! I have been offered a few gigs from them and it has been wonderful! I also try to make sure that I attend local flute events and regional flute conventions, and I go introduce myself to people. Our flute community is small and very interconnected. You never know what connection could turn out to provide you with a fantastic opportunity. Also, be sure you return the favor and say thank you!
There aren’t many classical musicians who don’t teach private lessons at some point in their career. I love teaching private lessons, and my career goal is to teach flute in higher education. Teaching private lessons not only gives you experience teaching, it allows you to really hone in on how and why you play the flute in certain ways! You’ll experience new challenges and have to come up with creative ways to overcome them. You’ll learn how much your expertise is worth, and it is probably worth more than you think! Teaching the flute has been the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.
4. Staying Curious
I try to stay curious about what is happening in my industry. I subscribe to Flute Talk Magazine, am a member of the National Flute Association, and I check out what is happening in the social media flute world. I want to know what’s going on! I have found new books to read, pieces to buy, and exercises to add to my practice rotation by doing this. I also try to read books on science, entrepreneurship, musicianship, and fiction. I especially love to watch fascinating documentaries about animals! Have you noticed how the music in the animal documentaries perfectly encapsulates what you’re seeing on the screen? Or how the music gives the animal a sense of personality? I try to incorporate those types of mental images when working on repertoire.
5. Working a Job (outside of music)
This probably isn’t what you want to read, but it is highly likely to happen. Part of “waiting in line” for your goals means that you have to make a living. You have to eat food, pay rent, pay for transportation, student loans, utilities, etc… I know that I’ll be having to find a job outside of music very soon, and even though I’m not happy about it, I know that it will just make me a more efficient manager of my time. If I work evenings, I will get up early in the morning to practice and vice versa. I think the best thing to remember when having to work non-music related jobs, is that this is temporary. Right now, you need to make enough money to survive, but if you continue to make incremental progress towards your goals every day, eventually you’ll be making a living doing what you love.
I’m sure there are many other ideas about what musicians can do to work towards their goals while “waiting in line.” Do you have any others? It doesn’t have to be specific to the flute. Leave a comment below!
Until next week…