Helping musicians nurture their humanity to free their art
For as wildly creative as musicians are, we are often sorely lacking in imagination when it comes to our calling in life.
At least I was.
All I wanted was an orchestra job. A good one. I thought, like many musicians I’ve known, that a job like that would give me satisfaction. Fulfillment.
But I’m here to tell you, and tell young Katie, that where you are employed does not, Can Not, give you meaning.
It can be well aligned with your talents and your values. It can be challenging and gratifying. It can do important things for your community. It can have moments of transcendent beauty.
But I would argue that the organization that gives you your paycheck does not inherently give your life meaning.
You know what else doesn’t give the musician’s life meaning?
Being really good.
The college teaching job.
Practicing 6 hours a day.
Winning the competition.
Getting into the school or festival.
And yet, you guys! This is what we focus on. Day in, day out. Hour upon hour.
I would like to propose something radical.
You are a human who plays music.
You are a rich, vibrant, loving, talented being whose voice is an integral part of the story of this planet.
And music is one of the many vehicles you possess for bringing that voice forth.
We’ve all heard the advice if there is anything (anything!) you’d like to do besides music, DO IT. Let music be your avocation. Let it be the thing that gives you JOY, not a paycheck.
I’d like to ask that question in a different way.
What is the deeper piece of you that seeps into every interaction you have, every dream that guides you, every time you have felt most aligned with yourself? The piece of you that exists outside of being a musician.
Can you put words to that? The part of you that is most you - that has nothing to do with an instrument.
For me? I know that on a cellular level I am an encourager. That’s what drives my teaching. That’s what I’m thinking sitting in a section on stage. That’s what I’m doing when I engage with the audience. Or write a blog post. Or love on a neighbor or hold a friend’s hand in the hospital. It is Who I Am. It is way, way, way bigger than the flute.
But flute is a beautiful means to express my orientation.
One of many.
I want to encourage you (ha! Look at me, doing it again!) to reflect on your identity as a human separate from that as a musician. The work can feel a bit overwhelming, but I promise it is worth investing yourself in. Becoming really clear about what drives you, what lights you up, and what makes you want to get up in the morning - this will serve you your entire life.
Next Steps and Additional Resources
Here at The Musician's Mindset, we have some incredible resources for developing and implementing mindset practices that will transform how you perform on stage.
First, check out our Personalized Mindset Tools Quiz to discover the mindset strategies perfect for YOU!
Join the waiting list for my FREE mini-course, How to Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve and Calm the Heck Down.
Founder of The Musician's Mindset
Katie is dedicated to helping musicians overcome stage fright and believe in their own unique artistic voice. She believes live classical music is a powerful antidote for the division, pain, and loneliness pervasive in the culture and strives to support all artists to confidently share their work with the world. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband, three kiddos, a dog, a snake, and a goldfish named Orca.