i hate to admit that i am terrible at motivating myself to do something. i often get down in the dumps about my own artwork, perceived image, place in the world, and progress towards an often undefined goal. i really hate to admit this as a music educator, knowing that with these characteristics, i put myself in the running for the biggest hypocrite going in institutionalized music. i frequently have epiphanal moments of my art in the here-and-now, but allow myself to get caught up in the philosophy and reflection of it all and then miss the boat on meeting that brainstorm with some real action. conversely, i occasionally pour a bunch of sweat and tears into something that may not always the goal that i want to be making strides towards (hello academia.)
now, i know that there are only 24 hours in the day. i also remember an inspirational quote i once read that reminded me that i have the same 24 hours in the day as albert einstein, helen keller, and louis pasteur. i used to schedule my time out hour by hour, guilting myself into efforting creativity on a superhuman level for 14+ hours every day. i was depressed when i quickly noticed that i couldn't maintain that tempo. i remember hearing from then classmates and now colleagues about how much they practice and how many gigs they get, blah blah blah, and felt like shit about how i ran my own regimen (still do, from time to time). and then one day it hit me - i get inspired and motivated by musical happenings from my friends.
my friend tim just played a gig with guitar monster ben monder. my friend brian played with brian wilson at a club. some of my friends open for big time acts. others teach master classes in exotic or well respected locales. some put together tours of their own music or as part of projects that they are excited about doing. others win gigs in big time orchestras or land jobs in higher ed. my wife burns up the highway with concerts and teaching gigs, rubbing shoulders with famous flutists, recognized composers, master teachers and incredible chamber musicians.
i like to talk to my friends about their experiences. why did you choose this project? what do you like about it? how do you tackle the challenges you have set in front of you? friends are friends, which means that we can be candid with each other. we can give lengthy answers to questions, if you want that. we don't try to hide the secrets to our success. we are actually excited about what we do and assume that, as friends, we each give a shit about the other one's joy or angst. we also are cool about revealing our hidden flaws, our insecurities, our gaps in our artistry. friends help friends understand artistic pursuits on a fundamental level because of the personal experiences attached to it. friends also know that their friends aren't necessarily interested in their "interview" answers to questions, because friends aren't asking questions in hopes of getting a clever one-liner that will help their article zing.
my friends are all into different stuff. hey - why do you like the meters? tell me about shirley horn. which aphex twin album should i start with? what did you learn from carol wincenc? did you read that david pink book yet? what was it like meeting boulez? friends share records, swap books, go to shows together, lament over philosophies of arts education, discuss cinematography, debate which is the better sitcom. i love talking about topics that feed directly into the passionate pursuits of my friends, the same way i love talking about kenny wheeler or meredith monk or dancer in the dark or emerson or chelsea lately. i don't assume that my friends are going to equally dig what i do, based upon the fact that i'm not instantly in love with everything they suggest. that's not the point for me. what trips your trigger? i'll show you mine if you show me yours, without passing judgement. my friends are cool with me being slow to embrace wayne shorter, just as i am about them not yet viewing the epic movie hot rod. neither is thinking less of the other (...right?)
my friends are my source, the reliable network of information and inspiration that keeps my life chugging forward. ...this reminds me of the mf doom track "deep fried frenz". you should totally check it out...