In order for me to reach my dream of playing in an orchestra, I have to really buckle down and practice my butt off. I need to be the best of the best if I ever one to turn this dream into a reality. While I may be good at my instrument, it doesn’t mean I am the best. There are many people out there who I can’t hold a candle to. Luckily, I have three and a half more years of college and then two years in graduate school before I have to worry about this. However, I need to spend this time wisely. I need to make sure I don’t take too many classes that would hinder my practicing time. I should spend a lot of time working on etudes for my technical skills and repetoire for my musical skills. On top of that, I need to know the ins and outs of common orchestral excerpts so that I will know what’s coming when the time comes for my audition. That’s truly my biggest my plan; get better. To get better, I need practice better, and more.
As a performer, of course I need skills. I need skills to make me a better musicians as well as skills that can set me apart from other musicians. Luckily, many of these skills I do possess. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t improve. Nor does it mean I can’t acquire new ones.
Personally, the skills I do have is that I am very likeable. This attribute has helped me time and time again. In fact it has done me wonders these past few days. I also know how to talk to someone and make persuade them to see things in a new light. My biggest goal is to play in a professional orchestra. However, I also want to start a program that provides cheap to free lessons to those who are financially unable to have them. In order to make this project work, I need to have people support me in my endeavors and be willing to donate when things get started. In my opinion, excellent people skills can make or break you in many professions and it is one thing I have.
Something I know I need to work on in my art is my sound. By that I mean having a full, voluptuous, meaningful sound. Something that is pleasing to one’s ears. It doesn’t matter if you play the hardest piece to ever be written and everything is perfectly in tune. If the sound is bad, then the performance is bad.
Although I am pretty at taking rejections, it still hurts. I am no stranger to rejections whether it is in art or love. It’s just something that hurts and will always hurt no matter what. I do not like it and I may go into a pseudo-depression. However I get over it which I pride myself in. I cry about it today, move on tomorrow. If you go through life worrying about the past, you’ll never be able to face the future. I learn from mistakes I may have made, then I persevere.
As a human being, I as well as everyone else in the human race needs things to motivate them to do everything, rather it be big or small. If the dishes needs to get I do it because the thought of having a clean sink and less roaches motivates me to do so. If I have an assignment for class I do it because the thought of not doing it ad getting a 0 doesn’t sound all too pleasing. So, I do my work. As a musician I am motivated to practice at many times of the day. At other times I don’t want to even think about practicing. Those are the times I need to be motivated the most.
The number one motivator for me is to get better at what I do, which is most likely the case for everyone doing something they love. So for me to get better I practice. A LOT! It is very appealing to me when I am able to play something that was extremely hard for me in the beginning. When I look back in time at how my playing was then, and how it is now, I know I have improved tenfold and I know I can only get better. At first when I would practice, my mother would wish I’d just stop. I even had a band teacher told me I should quit orchestra and focus on band because I wasn’t good enough to go anywhere on cello. Now he tells me that I’m going to make it far on it and that I should never give up. Things like this tells me that I am doing the right thing and that I must continue.
However, there are times when I get distracted and just don’t feel like practicing. These are my dark ages. I know I should practice at least 4 hours everyday. Instead, I will go 3 or 4 days without practicing. This is a terrible thing for me because I lose progress on the work that I have done. It times like these, I need inspiration. To cure my laziness, I go on YouTube and watch videos of great cellists playing phenomenal pieces, such as Andreas Brantelid’s Prokofiev Symphonie Concertante. When I see them play with such emotion and makes the hardest pieces in the cello’s repertoire look like child’s play, I am inspired to get up, practice and get back into the swing of things.
Although I draw my motivations from numerous places, I often get distractions from numerous places. The biggest culprits being Facebook and television. I just got a tv and new video game for my room. I love it but it may not be the best thing for me right now because I will just lay on my fat butt and watch television until the cows come home. The best/only way to fix this is to just turn it off no matter how interesting something is.
If I want to succeed in my field I must focus, practice, and have little distractions. At the same time I must not get overwhelmed and give myself a break every now and then.
There a few simplistic things I value in life. I’m not particularly religious, but I do believe in having morals and knowing the difference between right and wrong. I’m a pretty liberal person so a lot of my social morality tends to align with that of the liberal democrats.
Honestly I get a little annoyed with hardcore Republicans. A lot of things they say is stupid to me. I am a strong believer that the government and religion should be separated from each other. Don’t try to make laws based on what the bible says, because not everyone believes in it. If it is morally sound, like not killing one another, sure. But not allowing two people of the same sex or getting rid of planned parenthood is total bull spit. I could work collaboratively with these people as long as we don’t talk politics. They only end in arguments.
When it comes to my art there other things I value as well. I believe in modesty, no matter how good you are. Nothing is more unappealing than a person who is amazing and is cocky about it. Everyone could use a slice of humble pie every now and again whenever their heads swell up too much. There’s nothing wrong with a little competition in the music field as well, especially if you plan on playing in an orchestra because the auditions are practically competitions in themselves. I myself am not particularly competitive. I can be a little from time to time, but biggest competitor has been and will always be myself. I need to be better than what I was last week. I push myself to get better and be the best I can be. I goal isn’t to better than someone else. Far from it actually. I only strive to push myself as far as I can go and if I surpass people along the way, so be it. However, that isn’t what motivates me. I’m not in this profession for the money. Don’t get me wrong I would love to be principal cellist of the Boston Symphony and make nearly six figures but if it doesn’t happen, it won’t be the end of the world for me. My drive is just to do something I love, which is playing music for the rest of my life. Getting paid to do it is just icing on top of the cake. I love my family with all of my heart but if I got a job in the Berlin Philharmonic or Sydney Symphony, I would pack my things and leave in a heartbeat. I can always come home and visit another time.
Yeah that’s it.
Being a musician comes with a great amount of work habits. Some are really good and some are really bad. Luckily when you’re able to identify the difference between the two it is easier to foster the good and eliminate the bad. However “easier” doesn’t mean it’s easy. One of my worst habits is that I bite my nails as far down as they can go. Luckily I need short nails for cello which is probably why I’m never going to stop doing it. When it comes to habits that pertain to musicians I have a good amount of beneficial ones and detrimental ones.
My best habit is that I like to practice. A LOT. Nobody gets better by not practicing so luckily that isn’t the case for me. However this habit can be a double edged sword. I have the tendency sometimes practice wrong. You may be wondering if I’m practicing, then how can I be doing it wrong. There are many answers to that, but I’ll only do the ones that pertain to me. When I practice I can sometimes be a tad impatient. By a tad, I mean extremely. I really like learning things, but because of this overexcitement I try to learn it faster than I should. In other words, when I make mistakes I may just keep going and ignore them or get it kind of right but not perfect and then move on. Doing that is not the right thing to do. By keep doing it and practicing things incorrectly, my playing skills will diminish because I practiced something how it shouldn’t be played.
Luckily this doesn’t happen too often, only when I’m impatient. I do like to practice, and for hours upon hours a day. This is only good if you practice right. I like to isolate a couple of measures and break them down and work on it until it gets next to perfect. Another thing that is important is isolating shifts. Going back and forth between notes in difficult shifts is a good habit to have because you become more comfortable with the passage. Taking naps between long practice sessions is also beneficial for me because I don’t want to overwhelm myself too much.
That’s pretty much it.
I have always been the type of person who is extremely appreciative of everything that I am given, mostly because my background wasn’t the easiest. I was sexually assaulted as a child. I’ve seen my father abuse my mother. I’ve seen her struggle to pay the bills and buy groceries. I have seen her cry day after day over her poor health. I’ve seen her have to take on average 32 pills every day. I’ve seen her rushed off to the emergency room. I have seen her in a hospital bed over 40 times. I know that the doctors told her she going to die. I know they told her on two different occasions. I know she had to quit her job and live off of disability because she is too sick to work. I know she has to beg my father for child support, which he rarely pays. I myself had to deal with witnessing these things and cope with the emotional distress it comes with. It’s very detrimental to a child’s health to have to hear mother say her life isn’t worth living. I know all of these things and so much more. I hate the fact that she has to do these things. All I do know is she deserves the world as well as I.
Having grown up in a lower class family, there were many luxuries I didn’t receive. However, my life totally changed after learning to play cello. I joined a program in Dallas called Young Strings, which helped me become the person I am today. The point of Young Strings is to provide free lessons to minorities who otherwise can’t afford them in hopes of diversifying American Orchestras. I had my first lesson in February of 2010 and my life had taken a 180. After receiving lessons, my skills have improved exponentially. I could finally see myself going to college doing something I love. No one in my family has been to college and they all struggle in one way or another because of it. I didn’t want that for myself and my future family which is exactly why these lessons were such huge deal for me. I
Now I am finally in college at Southern Methodist University with a phenomenal cello professor. My dreams are in its genesis stage of coming into fruition. Of course I want to play in an orchestra one day. I would also like to travel the world and play for all types of people as my high school cello teacher did. However that isn’t all I want to do. I want to take care of my mother so her suffering can stop. I would also like to start/join a similar program to that of Young Strings to help any youth who wants to play a string instrument but can’t afford to take lessons. I want to be there as a mentor as my teacher was to me. I would want them to know that they’re background doesn’t have to determine their future. I want them to know that just like them, I too have been through a lot in my life but I didn’t once let it stop me and to this day I don’t regret anything because I know it made me the person I am today. I want them to use music to help them achieve their goals even if it isn’t in the music career. They could use it as a tool to get them where they want to be.
That’s my life in a nutshell!!!
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