Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Wonderful Place To Be

I was talking with a new friend yesterday who is a talented musician and is desperate to find a way to make a living doing what he loves.  He someday wants to have a family and wants to provide for them, and his fear is that a life in music might affect his ability to do that properly.

And I feel for him. Being a musician is nothing like being an accountant or an architect. There is no paved road to follow (beyond schooling, anyway) and few clear options other than to work very, very hard.

So I felt some camaraderie talking with him about the struggles associated with choosing to do music over something else. But I also felt extremely grateful to be who I am. I’ve never felt that kind of pressure between choosing to be a pianist and choosing something else out of a sense of responsibility to make a steady, stable living. My family has always been wonderful and supportive and they helped me to get through college and graduate school, but obviously I could not rely on them once I had my degree. So why was I able to go to school for music and not worry every single night about how I would eat or pay for rent while trying to navigate the very competitive and difficult waters of being a classical pianist?

Because I married a man who, just by choosing me, has given me the freedom to do what I love. I married a man who I know will support me and our children, who wants to encourage me in my art and who has never made me feel badly that we don’t have two regular, full-time incomes.

This is not to say that either of us have zero expectations for me when it comes to me making a living, however small, through music. I already have several students and hope to get more, and I absolutely plan to contribute to our family income through my teaching and hopefully, eventually, through performance opportunities once we are more settled.

More importantly though, I feel a big responsibility to “use” what I’ve studied so intensively, which is the way my dear teacher and mentor put it in our last lesson together. I feel that I am obligated to use the skills I’ve obtained and the gifts I’ve been given in a way that brings joy to me and others.

And that is a wonderful place to be in. For my primary goal in doing what I do to be fulfillment and not money, beauty and not financial stability, joy for myself and others.


  1. Bravo to Steve for not insisting that you take on a full-time job (as many husbands do, even when the income they make would be sufficient). When the babies start coming, it will be wonderful for you to be able to stay at home and raise them yourself! :)


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