From an early age, I knew that an ordinary profession wasn’t for me. My imagination wouldn’t let me live with it. As long I can remember, I’ve always been “different”; whereas the other children on the playground wanted to be firefighters, policemen, vets, or doctors, I would rattle off a list of careers that were… unusual for a young child, to say the least. Whether it was my desire to become a train conductor, paleontologist, historian, Olympic fencer, film director, or whatever other pathway caught my attention, one thing was always the same: I threw myself at it with all of my heart. I would delve into my newfound love with all of my being and devour every fresh idea, every morsel of information that I could find on the subject.
Simply put, I’ve always had a passion for passion.
However much I loved anything though, within a year or two, my interest would fade. I would lose the hunger I had for it, or deem its challenges not worth the sacrifices required to meet them. I would bounce to the next subject, only to begin the process all over again. That all changed with my discovery of music, thanks in no small part to a very special teacher and friend (an upcoming post will pay thanks to him and the other significant architects of my future).
It began as a fascination with musical instruments. For some reason that I couldn’t understand, they excited me, especially my instrument of choice, (or weapon of mass destruction, depending on the context) the trombone. Perhaps it was because I was able to forge a connection with many of my favorite movies — I spent more time in the first year or so of playing trying to learn and perform the soundtracks to Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings than I’d care to admit — or perhaps it was initially simply another passing fancy. Regardless, this time was different. Something about the art truly spoke to me. It was an outlet, a way to create, to express myself, and, quite frankly a challenge that I loved (More on that in a moment). I was FAR from “good” when I started playing, but I stuck with it.
I know for a fact that, in the beginning, half of the reason for my love affair with the trombone was how incredibly frustrating it was for me. Before, everything I had wanted to accomplish was nothing more than a thought and a page turn away: I wanted to learn everything I could about trains, so I read countless books about them. I wanted to learn about dinosaurs, so I went to museums and looked at websites and libraries. I’ve always been graced with a strong intellect, and consequently, many of these pursuits of knowledge came relatively easily to me. But not music. For the first time in my life, there was something that I couldn’t just read, learn, and file away in my mind. I didn’t have a “talent” for this. I had to work. No shortcuts, no excuses. This was a challenge; the gauntlet had been thrown down, and I rose to it. I loved it.
Before I knew it, I was pouring every bit of my heart and soul into it, endlessly, and the passion was still unquenched. Still demanded more of me. Every question I asked only led me to ten more. It was a playground for my naturally-curious mind. At this point, my answers to questions were changing. When asked before about what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d always responded with, “I think I want to be a [insert temporary obsession here], because it’s fun!”. Now though, I couldn’t help but respond with, “I KNOW I want to be a musician. It pushes the boundaries of my mind and heart, and it fulfills me. There’s nothing else I’d rather do, and I can’t imagine myself as anything else.”
For the first and only time in my life, my passion transformed into my calling; I had found my reason for being. Here was an open door: I could pour myself out to it and still want to give more. I could utilize my full creativity. I could explore every human emotion. More importantly, I could connect with an audience through a medium more powerful medium than words. MOST importantly, I could do my part in changing the world for the better.
Through the years, much about me has changed. I’ve discovered things that I was incapable of imagining about myself. I’ve undergone tremendous personality shifts. The constant, since its discovery, has been my passion for music and art. Not once has my conviction wavered. Not once have I doubted that it was “right” for me. It’s a need; as much a part of me as the air I breathe or the food I eat.
To me, music is more than a pastime or hobby. Music is more than a challenge or a simple Music is more than a profession or a career. Music is the question and the answer. Music is the path to enlightenment and righteousness. Music is the path and the destination. It’s a way of life.
It’s about more than being a player.
It’s about more than being a musician.
It’s about more than being an artist.
It’s about fulfilling my responsibility, my privilege, and honor to my soul and to the world.