How To Be The Best Musician You Can Be

How To Be The Best Musician You Can be

I used to think that if I went travelling for a few months, I’d get the travel bug out of my system, but I hate staying in one place. It’s like saying you can get music out of your system if only you played it 24/7 for a week straight.

So I started to feel stuck, like I wasn’t getting anywhere.

 

“Stop running from your problems,” my mom says.

“I’m not running,” I say.

We have had this conversation a million times, where my friends are too fake to tell me the truth about how much I suck.

“Stop complaining about things that people can’t change,” I say. “No one is perfect.”

 

I feel horrid for a few weeks that my life isn’t going anywhere. Then I get an opportunity for a huge change and I start to feel overwhelmed. If you have been reading the blog for a while, you will know that I am open about most of my scandalous activities, but I’m not ready to say what this is just yet. Maybe this means I am older, but now it takes me minutes, hours, or days to digest things now. So please give me time.

Another hallmark of getting older, or perhaps just jaded: the other day, I noticed that protein shakes no longer taste sickly sweet, but more like hard work and the experience of savoring the high after sweating. It tastes like a reward I paid for in sweat.

It’s right up there with other stuff that makes you gag, like vodka and cod liver oil and university. Getting older is not a problem I can run away from; maybe it is not a problem at all, but something I just worry about.

 

Two weeks ago, I agreed to creating a huge change in my life that starts next year. To a lot of people, it seemed like a no-brainer to say yes, but I took a few days to think it over—because I had a right to. I don’t even know why I had to justify to so many people why I was thinking about this decision. Have you ever pondered over a personal decision that everyone else just knew the “right” answer to?

Maybe it’s like on Friends where Monica gets married and then Rachel pretends to be ecstatic but then starts hating that she isn’t married, except my friends do not pretend. (Note: Before I get comments about this, this was not the decision.)

“Let me guess, you’re not going to take it,” a friend said.

“I don’t know, I need time to think it over.” I said.

After I said yes, I told those in my inner circle and I can’t remember if I texted that friend.

There is now a deadline to my current life.

Maybe this will be the last time I touch this piano, in this room. Maybe this is the last time my fingers will be fast enough to play a Chopin arpeggio for a long time. Maybe this is the last time I will have ready access to an instrument. And maybe this is dramatic, but all the things that annoy me will soon be replaced by new things that further annoy me, and all the good things will be replaced by foreign good things.

We often do not have time to appreciate the things in life that make us better human beings, and my deadline is making me think about the small and big things that make my life, mine: loud music while I work on my laptop in coffee shops to block out the awkward first date conversations around me; sneakers to go dancing in, depending on how much I want it to hurt when I’m stepped on; burnt sushi with my sister.

I am trying to be more intentional now, whether it be walking down the street or playing piano. I am trying to be present and conscious of every millisecond of what is going on around me now, because it could be the last time, and that means putting my phone down and looking people in the eye more often. I am putting more effort into seemingly mundane things, like looking like I’m listening intently when friends are telling stories and sitting up straight with my phone on silent (okay, I’m cheating, my phone is broken anyways).

It is making my life a lot more interesting and I have forgotten what it was like to be fully present.

If you have time this week, why not pay more attention to simple activities that you often do?

What if it were your last time?

2 Comments

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2 Comments

  • Reply Mark Seckel November 4, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    I am sure that I am much older than you, but recently I picked up my bass guitar again, right now I’m not as fast as I used to be, or as smooth, but I’m getting there. You are right, the small things we need to engage in but never give up on yourself. You will do great on those Chopin runs!

    • Reply Grace Lam November 5, 2017 at 11:24 am

      Thank you, Mark! This is great.

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