Confession Time- I’m a musician.
But not the glam rock, big hair and guitars kind of music (sorry to disappoint).
No, my specialty is concert band, particularly the clarinet.
I’ve played clarinet since 5th grade. I’m now 40. You do the math.
Luckily, I’ve been able to play continuously since then, due to the formation of a local community band while I was still in high school.
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t surrounded by music. And I would be extraordinarily sad to not have music in my life. So, yes I can say music is very important to me.
But it’s funny- playing an instrument has taught me SO much more than simply how to play notes. It’s taught me how to (apologies to Prince) “Get through this crazy thing called life.” How to embrace challenges and cut myself some slack when facing change. It’s also taught me valuable lessons about business. Here’s three life lessons music has taught me.
How to Work in a Team
When you are but one in a larger group of musicians, you learn very quickly that all members must contribute in order for the piece of music to sound as the composer intended.
And each member must contribute at the correct time, and then back off when it’s someone else’s turn.
That’s the reason for dynamics in each person’s music- to tell you when it’s time to be loud and time to be soft. Time to be up front and time to fade away.
It’s no different when working with a team. Each person has a time to contribute and a time to listen.
Because if the dynamics are being ignored and everyone is playing as loud as possible, then the end result is always a stern rebuke by the director and a piece of music that sounds like crap.
But when you pay attention to the dynamics, time signature and key signature, the result is magical. And exhibits synergy at its finest. And synergy is what makes an amazing team. And an amazing outcome.
How to appreciate the subtleties of life
A piece of music is full of subtle nuances that combined tell the story behind the notes. The fading away, the sharp staccatos, the lone trumpet solo, the highs and lows. And all of these can happen within the span of just a few measures.
Life is full of big moments, little moments and in between moments. Because it’s not always glamorous. It’s not always crummy (thank God). Most of the time, it just is. And you have to appreciate all of these moments. Because if you don’t, you’ll always be in a state of dissatisfaction.
You’ll always be waiting for the next big thing, without appreciating the measures in between the booming overture and the rousing finale. Those in between measures? Without those, you wouldn’t have much of a story. Never forget that.
The importance of having a creative outlet
Without some outlet, you’ll go crazy. I don’t care what job you have or industry you’re in, that can’t be all you do. Because eventually you’ll flame out faster than a weenie roast in a downpour.
For me, music allows me to transfer my emotion, decompress and simply transport myself away for a short time. The mere act of playing the notes is therapeutic in itself.
It gives me another story to “write.”
It shifts my focus. It allows me to create “art.”
It allows me to step outside of my analytical, numbers-based, logical day to day life. Yet, music has structure and form, which still satisfies my Type A personality. A beautiful thing really.
Music has become so much more than notes on a page. It’s shown me the beauty of how to work in a team to reach a common goal and why each player is important. It’s also given me a blueprint how to deal with moments that aren’t the rousing beginning or spectacular finale and how to appreciate those moments. Lastly, it’s shown me the importance of having an outlet other than work.
Because honestly, if every note is the same, every tempo no different and the highs and lows nonexistent, how boring would that be?
So there’s three life lessons music has taught me. How about you?