college · Life Lessons · Music

Oboe Life: Take 26 – Making Music For The Sake Of Music

“We live in a world where image seems more valued than truth. Struggle seems more like failure and vulnerability more like weakness”

I know I haven’t posted at all since Spring Break, but that’s because I was too focused on school. So, I’ll go back to all the fun things I did the last two months another time.

Anyway, I ranted a couple hours ago on Instagram about some things I’ve noticed lately in the music world, but I feel like they have always gone on; I was just too busy in my own problems to notice. For starters, I have noticed musicians who lose their way in music and stop making music for the sake of music. I was a victim of this ever since I decided to be an oboist; the constant competitive environment, the rigorous lifestyle of practicing 24/7, and the tormented mindset of trying to figure out what is right or wrong in our performances when music is such an objective art; it’s an art for goodness sake! There shouldn’t have to be a right or wrong, however, as young musicians,  we have to learn a certain way of playing before we could ever explore outside of the box. As musicians, there is so much competition within our peers and the people we call friends. We are so wrapped up in the idea of getting a better chair placement and trying to strive for improvement that we most-of-the-time forget why we actually wanted to be musicians in the first place.

Looking back at my first year of college, I rarely went out with friends or socialized because I was more focused on getting straight A’s and improving my abilities and trying to focus on things that would help me in my future career. It’s sad that I didn’t realize this, but 98% of my meals were eaten alone because I didn’t eat in the dining hall but in my room where I would simultaneously study or forget to even eat. I know I’m an introvert, but there are limits to being anti-social. I figured I wasn’t really trying to be anti-social it’s just that I get drained mentally really fast. (I blame reed-making).

Overall, I think we should start reflecting what made us want to go into music in the first place and why we actually like playing our instruments or why we do what we do. Without remembering the reasons that got us into this field, or any field for that matter, then what’s the point of doing it? What’s the point of stressing ourselves daily for the things that we do? I perform because it was my refuge and my communication to the world. It was what made me complete as a human being and that’s why I’m passionate about it. Why I chose the oboe is another story…ha! A friend of mine from humble beginnings of our music careers contacted me a month-or-so ago to join this summer orchestra that he and few others decided to organize. Of course, I said yes, but the more I committed myself to this group, the more I learned of its values and they are something that really is something to think about. (quote below from the group)

“In present day, music is all about outcompeting others. In our struggle in the music industry, we musicians have lost some of the childlike joy we experienced when first learning our instruments. It can be easy to lose sight of why we play our instruments in the first place: to make music.” – San Diego Philharmonic

Now to the other part of my rant…I truly don’t understand why people, especially musicians, have to go to low standards of gaining connections and bad-mouthing their peers to make them seem superior. It honestly makes no sense to me, and it may only help in the short-run of their careers, but it will ultimately destroy them in the long-run. I decided to come back home once-a-month since march to be a part of this community band because they were looking for an oboist to perform and record David Maslanka’s Symphony no. 7 (one of the best experience’s I’ve had performing his works). I knew that I would be with some of my fellow musicians that I had gotten to know over the years during middle school and high school, which is amazing that all of them are still doing music no matter where they are in life, but I didn’t anticipate that I would still be experiencing the same high school drama (and this is why I go to school 2 hours away from home…).

The things that I’m referring to are just fellow musicians that I’ve either looked up to or worked with who have decided to use dishonorable methods to gain status or connections, which I condemn wholeheartedly. Why the heck would you use these scandalous methods to be better than everyone or get the better job? Personally, I think people who do this are very insecure and afraid that they won’t make it, so they have to beat down others or sleep with the “right” people just to be superior. No! In this industry that I am in and that my colleagues are in, the only things that should matter are our hard work, sincere kindness, and our passion for playing music. These things, these characteristics, are what’s going to make us have this successful career in the long-run. The people who are sleeping with others for a job or are just plain demeaning to their colleagues are only going to get little from that experience, and it will destroy them later on in their careers. There are also people who are what I like to call “two-faced”, where they will say nice things about you in front of you, but will immediately talk behind your back and say the most hurtful things about you. This kind of hypocrisy only makes you look so bad in front of people, and it will come back to bite you in the butt when you least expect it. Personally, I was a victim of this last night and I hear things here and there, and I usually ignore it, but the minute they decided to bring in my loved one and say “oh I feel sorry that so-and-so is dating her” made my heart sink so low that I slept very uneasy. However, I realized that my business with my significant other is our business and our business alone; no one should ever try to weasel their way and try to use someone I care about against me. I was so shocked to learn that the people I’ve grown with have decided to do these kinds of things or say these things, but here’s the thing though, they have so much potential and talent that I don’t understand what went wrong for them because they really shouldn’t have to be this way.

I feel the reason why I am so passionate about this touchy subject is that I know that I have worked so hard, and I know many others who are even more successful have worked so hard to be where we’re at in life. We didn’t do any of those disgusting things to be where we’re at because that’s not how it should be. It goes back to the whole idea that we musicians should be making music for the sake of music. There shouldn’t be any reason to disgrace the art of music because of our insecurities, it’s like taking blood money to feed your family. It’s dishonest. It shouldn’t be this way. Music is what brings people peace and love…the minute we bring hate and dishonesty is the minute the music will be like war. Why bring in more war into our lives through a medium that has always been known for peace for those who shelter in it?

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