I’m reaching the point of dimishing return on this, the Friday before Christmas. I had grand plans for this week – lots of loose ends to tie up, and virtual bows to place on projects. Dreams of taking a guilt-free week off, without too many things undone. Optimism dies hard. Naïveté doesn’t die at all, it seems.
Several weeks ago I spent a lovely evening with some friends and their extended family. Turns out that music plays an important part in their family life, even though (very possibly because) none of them are serious musicians. Just sing-around-the-piano type stuff. It made me susprisingly nostalgic for a kind of life in which music plays a much different part than it does in mine (and, I’m sure, most of yours).
Gradually, over the first few years that defined the beginning of my life as a professional musician, I came to terms with the developing schism between my personal life and music. It’s not as dramatic as all that, I suppose, but there’s a much bigger divide than I would’ve liked. I’m luckier than most, for my husband and kids are all fabulous musicians in their own rights. But sitting down after dinner and singing with aunts, uncles, and cousins for the fun of it? Uh, no.
You’ll forgive me the Norman Rockwell tangent, I hope. This sentimental approach isn’t usually a big part of my worldview, but I guess at this time of year, some of us can get a bit more slobbery than usual. I rail against the huge chunks of my life during which music only has dollar signs, spreadsheets, and research papers attached to it. At the same time, I’m endlessly thankful that I can make my living around it.
Where is this going? Two places, I suppose.
If you’re an amateur musician, just know that on a certain level, those of us who work in the music business are envious of you.
And if your musical life sounds like mine, consider this a challenge to reconnect with the reasons that music sent your life off in this particular direction. There are ways in which it can continue to feed our souls if we let it.
With that, I sign off for a couple of weeks. I’ll be back in January, rested, clear-headed and just as naïve as ever.