Friday, July 6, 2012

Demons in My Head #5: Enough is Enough

Enough is Enough

Go take a look at my Curriculum Vitae. In my time, I have approached music from a number of directions. Pianist, arranger, music director, union president, several types of jazz, musical theatre, accompanist, teacher among a few that is listed on the CV. (Not all of it is.) Some of it was a deliberate choice on my end. Most of it came from being a person with a set of skills who was known by the right person at the right time.

This is not to say that I took nothing away from these experiences. There is always something to learn and something to improve. As much as I love Herbie Hancock and Stephen Schwartz, I'm not trying to become either one of them. I'd much rather be the best damn Kareem Powell there is.

(Don't get me wrong. I'd go MD a Broadway musical in a heartbeat.)

The point is that finding your direction takes time, even if you think you have it already. There is no telling how the skills you learn will be vital in the future. There is no way I could have done anything on that list if there wasn't something I could pull from it.

That said, the time will come where you have to say enough is enough, especially if it takes energy and resources from what you are going after in your own life.

Don't ever buy into the idea that you have to spend any amount of time "paying your dues" or working from the bottom. The problem with doing so is that you are giving others the "power" to determine your readiness and worthiness to advance. Take it from me; under those circumstances, your dues will never be paid. You'll never be "good enough" to start or step out on your own. Even and especially when you work with others, you have to figure out and do your own thing, even if you aren't sure you are ready. You can't find your voice if you just watch others speak.

Once you head in your own direction, be prepared for the rejection that comes with it. If the people with whom you have cast your lot really respect you as a person, a musician, and an equal, they will celebrate with you for taking that step, even if they think you are nuts!

Sanity is overrated. Creativity doesn't come from a point of sanity; it comes from a point of imagination. Go bring some delusion into your art and see what happens.


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