My Skills

To be good at anything, you must have skills. It’s as simple as that. As a musician, I recognize that my skills will be very different than one of my peers. I do not just mean as a vocalist, my skills will be different than that of an saxophonist. I mean as a musician, disregarding my instrument, my strengths will differ from my peers.

As a self-evaluation of my skills, I would say my greatest strengths lie in showmanship. Due to my history of being on a stage, performing a wide variety of different acts, I have become quite comfortable being in front of people. I know how to get a crowd going to say the least. I have often MC’d talent shows and led events.

My favorite style of performance is putting on a rock concert.  This is because Rock n’ Roll is my favorite genre of music. Rock n’ Roll is meant to heard AND seen.  While I love listening to a track on my iPod, there is nothing like seeing a great rock show.  In my band in Denver, Big Wheeler and the HooDoos, I take on the role of being a front man. As lead singer (and bassist), I am the face of the band. I have to live the music that I am singing and playing.  While my band mates may capture and relay the sound, I am the skinny end of the funnel, concentrating it onto the audience.  My great skill in showmanship is what allows me to do this.

While I think I have many skills, being a front man, in any situation, is my greatest.  My ability to put on a great show will be a skill that I will use for the rest of my life, regardless of my career.

My Elevator Pitch (A Rough Draft)

Hello! My name is Matt Farley and I am a double major in business and vocal music at Southern Methodist University. For me, the hardest thing about singing in college has been transitioning to singing songs that are more than 100 years old. You see, my whole life (and I mean my WHOLE life), I have been singing rock n’ roll. It’s what I was raised on. That transitioned into being able to sing showtunes and essentially whatever interested me. Now that I am being classically trained, I aspire to be able to sing anything in any setting! Wouldn’t that be something? A night of bluegrass followed by a night of arias followed by a stage shaking rock concert; that’s the life I want to live.

What am I doing? And why?

I am trying to recall how the word purpose is described in the Broadway musical Avenue Q; however, I’m not sure the quote is appropriate for the blog.  Regardless, being aware of a purpose for life and existence is essential for anyone to being effective in anything.  In my opinion, a musician is nothing without a sense of purpose.  If a musician’s most influential motivation is money, fame, or anything else, that musician is doing it wrong.

This is all in my head.  I am not saying anyone has to agree with me.  But when I arrange, compose, or perform music, I do it because music deserves to be heard in this crazy world and it is my purpose to ensure that it is.

Now, I must recognize that in order to ensure that music is heard, I need to make a living.  How can I produce music if I can’t put food on the table? The truth is that I can’t.  So, as I move into a career as a musician, or anything for that matter, I must be in touch with whatever I believe to be my purpose while being realistic about the logistics of being a responsible citizen.

Another thing that I must recognize is that my purpose of life does not solely live in being a musician. I will one day have a purpose as a father, a husband, and I currently have a purpose in being a student, brother, and son.

In each one of the purposes of my life (many of which I’m sure I do not know), there is a unique motivation.  I am hoping that my college experience will help reveal some of these motivations.  I know that I have a lot of learning to do about my purpose in life and what will motivate me to fulfill that purpose.

By the people, for the people.

Any person striving for success has values that can either launch them towards, or possibly, hold them from their goals. Values can define a person without that person even knowing their own definition. As for my values, I can wrap it up into one big picture.

The philosophy that I hold closest to my heart is one that I am sure many people have, but I’ve found the words to describe it that make the most sense to me: God wouldn’t have put us all on the same planet if he did not want us to love one another, work together, and celebrate each other ALL THE TIME.

My greatest value comes from this philosophy. To me, nothing is more important than having positive relationships with my family, friends, peers, mentors, and essentially anyone I meet. If I am not making a positive impact on their life and they’re not making one on mine, what’s the point?

There are a few values that come along with the big picture value that I just described. I value equality, respect, and freedom of expression. These things are essential to the human race being able to grow and explore the many endless frontiers which we currently gaze upon.

I hate to be cliché, but if everybody loved everybody the world would be a much better place. I value positive human interaction because it can lead to so many amazing things. As a musician, it is essential that I treat others with respect and make good relationships with them. It is equally essential that others do the same to me. No matter how hard I work, it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to do it all on my own. So, making relationships with other people is not only enjoyable, but it will hopefully allow me to have great success one day.

I value having positive relationships with others. This value is essential to my success, and one day, I will look back and be so thankful that I have been treated the way that I have been and I will pray that other people feel the same way about how I have treated them. If God wanted us to isolate ourselves, why would He have put us all in the same place?

Don’t You Know It’s Getting Better?

Ever since I could understand full phrases, my parents (and every role model in my life) has stressed the importance of work ethics.  Working hard gets you places.  Perfect practice makes perfect. Never let ANYONE out work you.  Did I take this constant advice to heart? Yes, to an extent anyway.  It’s impossible to work harder than everyone at everything.  That is my belief.  But another one of my beliefs is that how much you work is not as important as HOW you work.

In other words, work habits can trump work duration when it comes to bettering myself as a musician, and person in general.  One of my favorite parts about being in this stage of development in my musical career is how I am constantly learning about how the machine that is my body and my mind works.

Take this example: I took a “power nap” today for the first time.  It was right before math class, which I usually struggle to stay awake during.  But during this power nap, it was like somebody hit the reset button.  I’ve always thought napping would be a waste of time, but now I am swallowing those words.  I think napping will be worked into my daily schedule.  Everyday I find some way to make it easier to accomplish things.  Simultaneously,  I am learning how to take more away from each and every accomplishment.

One of the best times to embrace the “Live and Learn” philosophy is in the first weeks of college.  I have made mistakes that I have learned from.  I have also had great successes that I have learned from.  Every moment is a moment to learn from.  I am learning how I want to shape myself and my life to achieve success as a student, a musician, and a citizen of the world.

The one part of my working habits that I hope never changes is my undying optimism.  I have always approached important (and non important) tasks with a cheery attitude.  My high level of self-efficacy allows me to approach every task with optimism and, more importantly, determination.

I am very happy with how my work habits are evolving to ensure that one day I can be great.  It is just up to me to continue working hard and working right!

A Performer Set Out to Change the World

Everyone cares about something.  More than that, everyone needs something. Everyone lives for something.  I live for love, family, and friends.  But most of all, I live for MUSIC.

As a musician, I want to demonstrate my passion for music to inspire others across the world to go after what they want.  My greatest dream is for people to see me perform or listen to my music and recognize my passion for what I am doing.  I hope that this recognition will then motivate them to chase their dreams and so begins a domino effect.

The source of most of the world’s problems is that people aren’t doing what they love.  I’m dreaming that I can change this.

I come from Denver, Colorado.  My passion for music was first discovered when I began listening to classic Rock n’ Roll as a toddler.  For my 7th birthday, I received nothing but Rock n’ Roll albums and I was as happy as I can be.  I still idolize bands like The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones.

My first opportunities on a stage were when I was selected for children’s roles in local community theatre musicals.  I’ve been hooked ever since.  I loved my high school choirs and theatre performances.  And high school made me realize that my truest passion is music.  I love performing in bands, choirs, ensembles, and dorm rooms!

I’ve been so blessed to be able to spend a lot of my life doing what I love.  I do not ever intend on stopping.  And as I said before, I want others to follow my lead, following their dreams.