But, you all knew that. What you don't know is that though I consider myself a cellist, am currently studying hard and hope to make a career out of it, sometimes I get tired.
I get tired of music.
Most people have witnessed my excitment. They've seen me talk overjoyed at the prospect of a performance opportunity or the chance to teach another student. But there are few people who witness my frustration as I work through pain, through difficult passages and through my doubts that I'll ever "make it".
Good days are actually more of an oddity than the days when I doubt myself.
I say this not as a way to make myself seem like less of a musician, but instead to make other's aware of the fact that doubts do not lessen your devotion to your craft. Sometimes it's hard to keep focused when you're in a career that's competitive and grueling. It's hard to focus on the good that you're doing rather than all that time you spent in the practice preparing for that one moment of satisfaction.
Most days for me are "practice-room days". These are the days when I spend my time working through intonation issues, penciling in fingerings only to erase them once again, and slowly gaining confidence in the nose bleed section of my fingerboard. I work through all of these difficulties and at times, I easily lose sight of what I'm doing. This is being an artist? These hours spent under florecent lights, staring at notes until my head aches. No. This can't be it.
Somehow, those notes turn to music. And then a glorious thing happens on performance night - I've felt this every time I've stepped into the orchestra pit this past week. The audience listens, hums along, taps their foot. It is then that you realize that the happiness they're experiencing is something that you helped to bring. That your performance encouraged certain discussion topics at the dinner table, reminded a family of their love for one another, encouraged a child to begin studying an instrument. It's not often that I get to see the product of my long hours spent in the practice room. But from half a floor down in the auditorium I feel the energy and excitement of hundreds of people clinging to my every note.
That's why I'm here. That's why I keep going. That is why I'm a musician.
If you're a struggling artist then be encouraged.
You are making a difference whether or not you see it.
You are changing perspectives.
You are enlightening minds.
You are impacting those around you.