music is life, music is breath, music is us

Why Do You Do This Music Thing?

Some people wonder why anyone would devote their lives to music. The percentage of individuals who “make it” seems to discourage anyone who loves music from trying. In my case, many individuals in my own family were against my pursuing of music, for in their eyes, a business degree would have been more advantageous (side note: my mom was always on my side, she raised me on her own and has always had my back). What is it about music that caused me to go against the advice of Forbes, members of my family and anyone else who was against this career path?

Music has always been my companion, as I am sure that such is the case for many people. It goes deeper than that for me however, as music was not only my companion but my source of sanity. Whenever I needed it, I would let rhythm and melody wash over me and calm my senses. Eventually I discovered that I needed to be involved with music, that I would never forgive myself if I at least didn’t try (this was around age 15). I found that I had an aptitude for music, as I had for many years played drums/percussion, and eventually I taught myself to play guitar after only a few lessons (a few years down the road being able to play works by Steve Vai and Joe Satriani). I developed a desire to compose, starting with pieces on my guitar and eventually writing for orchestra when I was 18 (without any lessons mind you). I had an insatiable desire for theory, for history, for cultural perspectives, all relating to music.

There was simply no other path that I could take; music was the beginning and the end of all of my pursuits. Have I fallen flat on my face in this career? Absolutely. I have failed, taken beatings, and been emotionally drained, cursing the very notes that bound me. At the end of the day, though, I could still pop in a Jimi Hendrix CD and feel love and hope. I suppose that is the most poignant statement in a way when it comes to my career, even when I hated music, I loved music. You will never be 100 percent happy in your life; you just have to find what makes it worth living. Even when I am mentally exhausted from all of the studying I do at my college, I know that I must pay my dues to have this career that I so desire. 

I do not know where I will wind up after finishing music school. I could fall flat on my face, or I could win a Grammy, either way I know that music is where I belong. There is no question in my mind about this, and that is why no one could take this away from me.  I encourage you to find this same passion that I have, it is never too late, and I wish you well in your pursuit of it.



16 responses

  1. I love that you don’t care about what others think. What’s the point in trying to go after a career in which you wouldn’t be happy? That’s pointless; you’re living your life for the purpose of living your life.
    Not a sum of the lives around you.
    Good luck. 🙂
    I love music but I don’t even know how to read sheet music.

    September 26, 2012 at 5:20 am

  2. mikeslayen

    Well said! One of the only things in the ‘business’ that doesn’t have drawbacks is the music!

    September 26, 2012 at 6:02 am

  3. “What’s the point in trying to go after a career in which you wouldn’t be happy? That’s pointless.”

    Those are words of wisdom and from a middle age guy who still plays, gigs locally and still has a day job trust me when I say this. I could make your stomach turn with my story of being denied the education and career I’ve wanted and desired since I was a kid by millionaire drunken but highly successful father. My SAT scores were in the 90% there was no reason especially with the wall of trophies I had collected for playing in public academia in high school. I was actually kicked out of my parents home for this, but at the end of the year I get plenty of creative time. It’s all I do outside of working because it’s where my passion has always been. It just didn’t make sense to give up something I was so passionate about because some narrow minded sheeple alcoholic I had no respect for received his self worth from making money in Banking. It takes a lot more to keep me interested then something so boring as being a banker. I give you accolades for doing the right thing for yourself, no one else will.

    September 26, 2012 at 6:03 am

    • Hey I really appreciate that, and thank you for sharing. I have had my fair share of issues with my father as well (domestic violence etc.), there is a reason why I was raised by a single mom. I am glad that you still find time to play music anyway, music is that one thing that can keep you sane in the most insane of times.

      September 26, 2012 at 6:55 am

  4. Go for it Derek. My father told me ‘you can’t make a living playing trumpet, buy a house and feed a family.’ He was wrong. Music was my mistress and as long as you have the passion you’ll be happy. Success is not measured in $’s.
    BTW, Dad never mentioned it again after I bought my first house.

    September 26, 2012 at 6:39 am

    • Yeah I figure, as long as I do what I love, any issues that come along the way will be secondary to my passion.

      September 26, 2012 at 6:49 am

  5. You know, Derek, if I had my time again I would have done it differently. I would have gone the music route and taken my chances. But there’s no point in looking back. I enter my 60th year next year with time on my hands to practice and to be the guitarist I always wanted to be. Go for it – you only get one chance (apparently).

    September 26, 2012 at 12:29 pm

  6. I’m happy you’re going for what you love, anything else just brings regrets!

    September 26, 2012 at 6:06 pm

  7. Exactly..keep it up and keep on dreaming, one day it might become the reality…at the very least if you fall short of 100% you’ll come pretty close..

    October 1, 2012 at 7:26 pm

  8. Its a glorious thing this that we call music. ..don’t ever lose sight of what its important. Now it looks not so difficult to stay the course. Don’t let anyone, or anyoneS come between you & your song.
    Own it, live it loud & never look back. All regret doea is write a good lyric.

    Oh by the way.. thanks so much for following me.
    So gratefu ~ BB

    October 12, 2012 at 4:55 pm

  9. no doubt I’ll keep going 🙂

    October 13, 2012 at 7:43 am

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