i want to be a good musician


I ran my first workshop this week. What a wonderful opportunity to work with a group of young and receptive brass players. I was really stepping off the edge of a cliff into the unknown. I did not know if any of it would be helpful, I didn't know if I could make sense of it to the participants, and of course I did not know if I would implode with panic. 

There were a few responses to my survey monkey after the event, and all said that it was too long and only one person said they would refer it to a friend. Sad face. After I picked myself up, brushed myself off, I decided to use that information to make the next one better. And shorter. Well, it was going to be shorter anyway, but I'll see it as a plus.

So. Onward.

The workshop was a reminder that when you ask a client 'what sort of person you want to be?' you realise this is a question most people have not ever considered before. So when you ask a roomful of music students 'what sort of musician do you want to be?' - the fact that the answer loudly shot back to me was a sort of surprise - a good musician. Of course I had experienced this before from musician clients, and it probably has been my own internal response many times, but it was so helpful to hear from them.

In ACT parlance, this question is meant to start you thinking about your 'values' - what you want your life to be about. Values are generally actions, ways of being, ongoing patterns of activity. They they can be the way you already do things, but 'values' can also describe they way you would like to behave. In thinking about your values, you get to decide and articulate the life that you would ideally like to live.

For me, a strong value in the domain of music making is 'beauty' -  playing as 'beautifully' as I can, making 'beautiful' sounds. Although this is my value, I know that I have made (and will continue to make) some bloody ugly sounds - sometimes I am tired, 'chopped', sometimes I was not technically able to play the music in front of me, but it was always a direction I was moving towards. Even before I could articulate it as I have learnt to do through the ACT work. 

So in my next workshop, I will think more clearly about how to elicit a more detailed response from the participants:

  • what does a 'good' musician look (and of course, sound) like?
  • what does 'bad' look like?
  • how can you get more 'good' playing into your life?
  • what does a 'good' musician look and sound like? 
  • can you give find some words to describe how they play?

And when you think about becoming the 'good' musician you would ideally like to be, what does your mind tell you about how successful you will be, making your way along that path?

Deborah HartComment