Thursday, October 14, 2004

getting my shit together?

Jerry and I had a conversation about moving back to Madison last night. I've been pondering this question: Are you happy someplace because you make yourself happy, or does the place conspire with the greater aspects of fate to give you happiness? In other words, do I feel that Madison is my home because I spent years there building my ensemble cast and particular haunts that made it worthwhile, or does it really have "something special?" Moving back comes with a small fear that it won't be the same- because most of the people I love are gone. But I'm convinced that the place is special enough to grant me new times and new friends, as I know where to go, what to see, etc.

I'm trying my best to "grow up" and build my life in other places, but it just doesn't seem to be working. Sure, it hasn't been that long, and these things don't just fall into your lap. There are other places I'd love to be that aren't Texas or California- they all involve the Midwest. The Citites, Chicago, Madison, I could maybe even do Milwaukee. My options for grad school in Chicago are, of course, boundless, but it'd be hard work to win a spot in any of the colleges or conservatories there (see: DePaul experience). I don't know if I necessarily want to go back to college in Madison- as a developing musician I should really experience different school environments. I guess, though, I'd kind of like to spend a little more time there and pull my head together before I make any more major decisions.

So if I go back to grad school, get a degree, then what? When I left my undergrad I had done little to no thinking about what I was actually going to do in the "real world." Sure, take auditions. Go back to school. Teach. Win amazing spot in respectable orchestra, start presitigious brass quintet.

I will go back to school, but I need to go back prepared to leave again. This is not to say that I'm going to spend my time there with my foot out the door, or ignore the fun and edumacation I get there, but that I'm going to be actively thinking and pursuing what's going to happen afterward. I need more experience and more instruction, so it's imperative that this college experience be geared mainly at hard work. Making connections is a must. Creating new musical endeavors with others will be top on the list, and perhaps I'll find something that can be marketed. Unless I score a gig elsewhere, it would be smarter to stay in the area I choose for grad school assuming that I've made contacts, been teaching lessons, am on the list for local music opportunties, etc. As difficult as it is to gig in Madison, it would have been wiser to stay there as I was already a part of the music culture. Sure, dynamics in the music school were changing, but that can only be for the best.

I like teaching, but I've always known it's not the only thing I want to be doing. Lately I've found myself counting the lessons I have left in my days and cheering when it gets down to the last two. It's not fair of me to take that attitude in to my students (although of course I don't project this to them). I like doing it on the side, where I can less stressfully build a relationship with my students and truly make an effect.

I've probably damaged some of the experience I could have had been by being so nomadic these past two years. In a music scene, gigs only come with time. In San Diego I was beginning to have some effect, and get more offers for coaching (which I like better than private lessons, by the way- go figure). But I packed up and came to Dallas, which has a lot of opportunities but also a lot of musicians, and had to start over as far as getting my name known. So if I plan on moving again, I have to be prepared to crack yet another music scene. I'm kind of afraid to get too locked into the scene here (not that that can happen, really, unless you're one of the DSO players or something) because I do want to leave. This is not the kind of place I want to be for very long. It's alright, really- it's not unbearable- but it's just another stop on my path.

I'm trying to figure out some direction for myself, but lately I've begun to think that maybe I don't care as much as I should. It might be in my best interest to chill for a while and see what happens- instead of trying so hard to control things. As Adam has said, "people will all their shit together just have one big stinking pile of crap."