I work hard. I always have.
To say that I’m persistent is an understatement. Anyone who knows me is aware that I put forth as much effort as possible, whether it be in the role of performer, teacher, or researcher. I don’t like giving up on something. Over the last few years, my mettle has been challenged by life situations and changing times. The academic climate is not as stable as it once was; the demand for regular performances has dwindled; families grow and change; teaching responsibilities become more demanding. I do my best to keep my head above water and to continue doing what I love — playing music.
I truly believe that hard work pays off. The only question is: when?
It has only been over the last few months in which I may have an answer to that question. I have had to accept (in a quite formal manner) that I am not getting any younger, and that some of the dreams and aspirations that I had when I was in my late teens and early twenties may have to remain exactly that: dreams. Along the way I have accomplished many things (degrees, dissertation, articles, recording, performances) and I am proud of them. I have realized and accepted that careers are made out of whatever opportunities I make for myself, and that I have complete control over them. My musical life is whatever I want to make of it — whether it’s solely teaching, or performing, or researching, or a combination of these endeavors.
In a recent conversation with a colleague, I mentioned the evolutionary process of musicians and how we are always constantly evolving and staying current. Just like in nature, if we refuse to adapt, eventually we will become obsolete and have no place in our world. Over the past eight years, I have adapted, slowly (to be sure), but adapted nevertheless to my changing musical roles. I am consciously embracing my adaptation to the musical world around me, and I will work to the best of my ability to be successful in it. There will be some stumbling along the way, sure — but from each setback, there will be personal growth from which to learn and implement new strategies.
I will meet these challenges head on and do what I do best — work hard to play music for as many people as possible.