Saturday, December 31, 2016

Chirstmas Concerts

Primarily, I'm a freelance cellist. I play as a substitute or in ad hoc orchestras for specific programs. In this case I just played Messiah by G.F. Handel and Nutcracker by P.I. Tchaikovsky. Both of these works are amazing pieces of music to take part in. Both elevate the musician and the listener to a different realm but in different ways. Nutcracker is simply a charming ballet with almost mesmerizing music that transports one into a world of magical elegance. However, Messiah elevates one to the realm of the sublime. It's message, of course, has much to do with it and is the reason for the composition. The music itself is nearly enough, though, to stir the soul's longing for a better world, giving rise to hope in the message, which the music creates in the most compelling ways.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Lost motivation

Cold. Lifeless. Hopeless. The cello sat in its case looking so beautiful. Soft amber hues. Each grain gliding, slightly curving from shoulder to tail. Bridge standing tall. Silvery strings taut and attentive. Everything about the instrument invites me, begs me to take her out and practice until I can't get anything I do, wrong. The music swirls inside my head. All the years of study and listening. I can name almost any piece, that comes on the radio, within a few notes or if not sure a few seconds worth of listening. If I can't name the piece I go for the composer based on the use of harmony, sonority, instrumentation.

I love music. It invigorates me just to hear the music that I have known since I was a child come singing through the speakers in a public space or store unexpectedly. There is nothing I know better than how better than to play music on a cello. That's what I studied the longest and most diligently for 15 years straight. All those cello lessons from my beginner moments when I was 8 and 9 years old--having to relearn posture on the cello, compared to the violin, was not as easy as I my young mind had imagined.

The struggle was real. Sitting and holding something that was touching the floor at one point didn't allow me to move like I had been able to with the violin. This would be a great disability until my masters degree nearly 15 years later. There seemed to be no way that I could get comfortable and therefore I played with tension throughout my back, arms, and hands. Fortunately, I overcame much of that problem. Now, the problem is quite different. It lies not partially, but completely within my brain, my thoughts as though they were permanent fixtures attached to a building.

Progress in cello had been slow. Progress in career had been even slower. Nothing I did could help me overcome my greatest blockade; my belief that I was incapable. And even after some small victories I struggle to advance my career. Now, it is more to the affect that it seems like too much effort. Finding a suitable audition or rounding up students or practicing with a regular musical partner, it all requires so much moving, organizing, and the most agonizing one of all is the necessity of money to get where I want to go. The efforts are real and enormous--in my head.

Well into my 30's I have little to say for what I have invested and shrink back from diving into new territory, expending the energy to get where I think I'd like to be seems to great a task. The unknowns swirling inside my head ever suggesting that the risks are great and the rewards to small. Perhaps it is better to eke out the living I have always done, dependent on others to get me one student here, wait for the call that will pay me enough to buy a week's worth of groceries (or two if I am lucky).

Scared. It's scary. That's what I have always thought. I don't know how I came to that conclusion. I have always decided before I experienced it that it must be scary. How does that work? How does one think it scary before even going through it? The human experience is so strange. The mind confusedly winds in and out of negative thoughts with the occasional ray of sunlight to keep my going. Unfortunately, the underlying thought pattern has been to defeat any progress before any attempt has been made.

Even now, writing this blog is a defeat. (Practice, post videos, direct traffic to your efforts, send out CV's, let people know you are available for work...)