My “business” plan (if you can even call it one) has expanded quite a bit from its original form since the beginning of this year. It used to be simpler, as I had yet to form larger ideas about where I plan to take my art and how it will support me. It used to be just, “Well I can play the bassoon decently, If I keep it up and study really hard, perhaps I will be lucky enough to land some sort of playing job somewhere” Before you make fun of me and call me naïve, know that I have always been aware of the harsh reality of this challenging profession and the rarity of job openings.
It wasn’t until a couple weeks ago that I really realized that I needed to start expanding and thinking about my art and my life differently so that I will know what to pursue in the following few years. For the first time ever, I seriously considered stepping onto the path of music education. (I did end up stepping on) I mean, I had always known at the back of my mind that I would be teaching bassoon lessons and selling reeds no matter where on the globe I ended up, but this was much different. I’m talking becoming a certified music teacher with an education degree and a performance degree. It makes me laugh sometimes because I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of this earlier. I love music, and would do anything to keep it in my life forever, so why not teach? It gives me a more appropriate double major to work on, increases my chances of being able to get a full time teaching job somewhere so that I can put food on the table while I seek performance opportunities, and at the same time keeps music in my life everyday as I help teach others who share the same interests and dreams that I do.
So I guess my plan is still simple: Stay dedicated to music and love every part of it, learn as much as I can every day, and give every challenge life throws at me my best shot. Because if I can do those three things, I’ll know I have no reason to not be happy with myself.
November 23, 2012
by Christopher Pawlowski 0 comments
Being a musician, I have developed many skills over the years. These include: an improved ear for tuning, the ability to listen for things non-musicians can’t, technique on the bassoon and contrabassoon, reed making, improved piano technique, and improved music theory abilities. These skills are very useful when applied directly to my life as a music performance student. Recently, I decided to change my double major to Music performance and Music Education. I realized that many of my aforementioned skills could also be applied to the education side of music. However, I also realize that I am going to need to learn many more skills from an education standpoint before I graduate. For instance: how to work with students younger than I, classroom management, conducting, pedagogy for other instruments, marching band, ect. The point is, there is much that I do not know as of yet. I know that in years to come I will learn these many new skills as I start work on my new double major. I am excited for this because I know that the music education abilities that I will learn will compliment my existing skills as a musician and make me better as a whole. My plan is simple: Keep my grades up in all of my classes each semester so that I won’t have to retake any classes and put myself behind on the music education track. This will hopefully allow me to graduate in the average nine-semester time frame. As far as skills that need to change, the only ones that come to mind are reed making, bassoon/contrabassoon technique, and time management. Honestly, change isn’t even a good verb to use. I think improve is a better one. I am thrilled to see what changes the next four years will bring to my life and to my abilities as a musician and as a teacher.
Hi, My name is Christopher Pawlowski! I play the bassoon and the contrabassoon. I offer bassoons lessons and I also make and sell handmade bassoon reeds. I also enjoy composing and arranging quartets for a variety of instruments. I can arrange just about any genre out there! My basic goal is to perform music at the highest level possible, teach those who are willing to learn, and attempt to convey my best musical interpretations at all times.
September 19, 2012
by Christopher Pawlowski 2 Comments
When it comes to schoolwork, I get my motivation from imagining myself getting a good grade and the satisfaction that comes with knowing that I did a good job. However, this motivation can sometimes be hard to find and focus on if the schoolwork is offbeat to my interests. I think that this is why I generally do better in music related courses as opposed to other general education classes. As a musician, my motivation for practicing is derived primarily from knowing that I will get better if I practice long enough and with the correct habits. Doing a task, no matter what it is, is much easier if you actually take pride and pleasure in doing it. I love playing the bassoon and I love it even more when I have the opportunity to sound good. Practice is the only way to sound better so I don’t usually complain about it. And besides, there’s no feeling like the one you get when you finally nail a hard passage that you’ve been at for hours! Right now, I am practicing the Hummel Bassoon Concerto in preparation for the Meadows undergraduate concerto competition. (I highly encourage you guys to give it a listen if you are not too busy as it is a wonderful but devilishly difficult bassoon concerto. Here is the link to an awe-inspiring performance by European player Dag Jensen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57v27cqmIPY ) Due to the concertos incredible level of difficulty, practice on it requires steadfast focus, determination, and above all patience. There are many passages in it that are borderline impossible, demanding perfect technique and a style of playing that does not come easily on bassoon. Yes, it does try my patience at times, but the ideal end result of a mastered concerto and a performance that I will be proud of, no matter the outcome, makes all the effort completely worth it in the end.
September 12, 2012
by Christopher Pawlowski 0 comments
I think the two things I value most are dedication and genuine effort. I value dedication because in order to be successful at anything, one must maintain a high level of determination (through good times and bad times) in order to obtain that success. Additionally, when someone sticks with something that they love doing even when things aren’t going so great, it also shows that they have a high sense of honor for themselves and what they do. Something that I respect even more than dedication to a cause, task, or objective, is genuine effort. To me, it honestly doesn’t really matter if you try at something and don’t succeed. Just putting fourth the effort and determination to try is worth recognition in my book.
That’s my policy. I always strive to do my best in music, but even at times when I don’t obtain success; I can at least rest easy knowing that I gave it my best shot. I am thankful for my steadfast determination to become a better musician because I know that without determination, I would just be a normal guy without music or bassoon in my life. And that is something that I simply cannot imagine.
September 5, 2012
by Christopher Pawlowski 2 Comments
I will not lie. When I work I can get distracted pretty easily.
Over the years, I have gotten a little better at ignoring Facebook, my phone, and other distractions while I work or practice. When I am doing homework, I have to be listening to music. The music can be basically anything except for rap and death metal. I can’t explain why I have this need for music while working but I have found that I always work faster and more proficiently when I am listening while I work. Additionally, if there is no music playing, I find it much more difficult to concentrate. When practicing my bassoon, I have found that it is easier to ignore distractions than when I am just doing homework. I have no doubt that this is due to the fact that I’m doing the thing I love to do versus doing homework, which I despise.
Oh, and sometimes I tend to be a procrastinator. People tell me that can be harmful.
When it comes to work strategies, I have found that taking periodic breaks while working helps me to stay motivated and to get work done in a semi-timely manner. These breaks can involve activities ranging from eating to napping and from exercising to messing around on Musescore. If I am feeling worn out from going at a specific project for a long period of time, I will often take a 20 minute break from it and do one of the aforementioned activities to “detox” if you will. When I return to my task, I feel re-juiced and ready to resume.
Here at SMU, I am quickly finding out that time is a very valuable and precious thing. It is getting harder to be distracted from my work because there is so much of it and therefore much less time to be distracted from it. I am also gaining a better sense of time management every day and I soon hope to have my daily routine down to a science.