The slow and steady path

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As a young musician, I was given the impression that the best career path available was one with a moment of hitting the jackpot, receiving lots of attention, adulation, validation and financial rewards. After making that sort of impact, most sensible performers would invest their earnings in businesses that would sustain comfortable lifestyles for them. This way of seeing things didn’t make much sense to me, because I wanted a life filled with music making all the way through.

I was also conscious of my need to keep my mind engaged in practising my craft. It might appear to be glamorous to “civilians” when they see musicians on tour, or treading the boards on stages with flashing lights, but the display of all these trappings has very little to do with what each person feels inside. Why do so many musicians end up using stimulants and hallucinogens? Is it due to boredom?

I have told stories in the past about senior musicians that I met in my younger years, who seemed to be jaded and cynical, possibly because they didn’t have anything to look forward to that could make a real difference in their lives. I knew that I didn’t want to be like them, but I wasn’t sure about the steps to take towards keeping myself interested.

My instincts were helpful in nudging me towards making choices that could have come across as unorthodox or weird to many others around me, but I’m happy to say that I am not disenchanted with my career path, even though I could have done with more financial rewards along the way.

If I was to advise a young musician right now, I would remind them of the old tale about the tortoise and the hare. I truly believe in the adage “slow and steady wins the race”.