Thursday, April 14, 2005

Day Jobs

Lately I've been thinking a lot about the plight of all those top level musicians who don't end up getting their coveted high profile gig. What do they go on to do? Do all of them stay involved in music through teaching or other means. Do some leave music altogether? I can only imagine the feelings of frustration they have to deal with. Imagine being good enough to play anywhere but not being able to play anywhere. Does their drive eventually go away? Every once in a while I find myself daydreaming about hitting a jackpot and being able to just play all day long and wondering how far I'd get under those circumstances. It makes me a little sad that I'll never know what my true potential was. But imagine if you were already THAT good yet still were unable to get the job you wanted. I worry and wonder about what they all do. It's all so terribly sad.

And I thought I had problems! Every day that passes I am more and more convinced that the timing of the oboe coming into my life was actually ok. The late start allowed me to focus on school. It is my hope that some day I will find a suitable career that lends me the freedom to play what I like and as much as I like. I will always play for the joy of it. Slowly I'm getting rid of all that regret at not having started as a kid.

That still leaves me with having to find a day job. One that I actually like as opposed to my current one. One that gives me the TIME I need to pursue being a great amateur musician. Oh, and the money to pay my mortgage. The oboe came at the perfect time because I've long been stalling at a career crossroads. For nearly a decade I've been struggling to determine what I should do with my life. I was close to committing myself to something that may not have had a happy ending for me. While I do love science I think I may have felt trapped if I had let it overtake my life. Now that I've gotten involved in music again I've been shaken up. There is NO way that I could be happy without it in my life. One hour of bad electric bass playing a week is not enough. I need to be studying my instrument actively and playing with others regularly. I'm estimating that I would need somewhere between 10 and 20 hours a week for music ideally.

At first this seemed to make my decision harder since a lot of the career options I was looking at were 60+ hours a week. But now I feel that I'm actually thinking more clearly than ever. I was fooling myself by thinking that I could be happy with that type of career. I need to compromise. My priorities are finally clear to me and they will be vital in my decision making. I know what's important in my life and I will always keep that in perspective from now on.

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