Performing music is probably not as complicated as I make it but I consider these things:
-How do *I* feel about what I’m doing?
-The shared experience with the other performers onstage.
-The effect that *I* am having on the other performers.
-The effect that I am having on the audience.
-The effect that the group (if there is one) is having on the audience.
-Does this pay? (LOL)
Why does all this matter?
Because how and what you do matters. Just doing “whatever” is going to get you “whatever”.
There is a difference between wearing a suit and wearing shorts. One outfit is appropriate for one thing but not for another.
There is a difference between going to community college and attending an Ivy League school.
There is a difference between washing dishes and managing a restaurant.
There is an effective way to practice your instrument and ineffective ways to practice.
There are better ways than others to work out or train to achieve physical fitness goals.
People by and large take the easy path. They choose a path that they can see without much or perhaps any thought.
They don’t choose a career- they get a job.
They don’t commit to a career field- they get a degree.
They don’t seek out a partner- they settle on whoever is around and convenient.
At 50 I have had good intentions to be successful as a musician, as a player, as a singer, etc. My results have been mixed and certainly not on the level that I would have hoped.
I can reflect and admit that my efforts were inadequate to achieve what I intended to achieve. That was not my intention.
It wasn’t necessarily how much effort I expended (I never had a problem spending time and effort to be better and more successful) but in many ways it was the quality of the efforts that I chose to make.
However, I see that my success- or lack thereof- is on a par with most other people that I know.
Perhaps extraordinary success is achieved by ordinary people who do extraordinary things.
Let me break this down:
In order to achieve a high level of success one must do more than what is expected or easy.
One must be EXTRA ordinary. In other words- striving to go above and beyond what average people achieve by making different decisions, making more productive efforts and persisting in their efforts to achieve more than the ordinary.
Many times we can be tricked into thinking that being busy is the same as being productive and progressive. If you are basically operating on the same level with the same people doing the same thing as last year, 5 years ago, etc. then you just being busy, perhaps maintaining- but not progressing. Most people seem to be satisfied with that lifestyle. I am not.
This is not intended to be an indictment of anyone else but myself. If I want to achieve extraordinary success then I must make extraordinary efforts. That’s not necessarily more effort- it’s more effective effort. There’s a difference.
I simply do not have enough life left to keep aiming my efforts at whatever is convenient. I am no longer young. Some people my age are looking at retirement. I’m still trying to get my career off the ground. My efforts need to be well-considered and then sustained. The alternative is that I stay in the same place that I’m in doing the same things that I’ve been doing which are really not extraordinary.
My only real regrets in life are just that I was often not bold enough. I didn’t take bigger, more considered steps and do the EXTRA ordinary. And now “suddenly” I’m 50.
Think BIG thoughts. Make BIG plans. Make BIG moves. Don’t be ordinary.
You can move on but don’t ever quit. There is a difference.