Life as an artist in any capacity is really a life of decisions. There are the every moment decisions: what step/color/sound do I take next? My recent blog series on concept/gesture/texture took a close look at those types of decisions that I take every day as a percussionist. But there are also a series of bigger decisions that affect the direction, or arc, of our life long career: what direction do I go in? Which group do I join? How much time do I devote to this? What is my ultimate goal/s?
Career type decisions are often deciding to be a jazz musician, or a classical musician, or a pop/rock musician. What direction do I go in? Or you can decide to be all of them. For many of us, life is a filter and things change throughout our careers. When were are young, energetic, and hungry for experience, we often take every gig imaginable, in all styles, and in every type of venue. In fact, this is advisable, as experience is the best teacher, and by trying new and different things, we may set off in a new and different direction. And even if we don’t change directions, we add a wealth of information to our music that we can now draw upon, and perhaps in a more subtle way, slightly alter the direction we are going in. Or we may not draw upon that information until much further along our career path, when it pops up like some sort of signpost telling us to look here (or perhaps to look, hear).
Whatever you do, make your choices conscious choices. Don’t do something just because. At one time I played every gig I could get, but over time, I narrowed my focus down to the specific types of music and gigs I really wanted to do. I know I could work more if I took other gigs that I see around me, but I made a conscious choice to focus on what I’m most interested in, instead of giving only half my attention to other gigs just because I could play them. If I play gigs I’m not really interested in (perhaps for the money), then I not only do a disservice to the audience and the other musicians, I do a disservice to myself.
We are all free to choose 1 or more, or all things to do. But whatever your choice, make sure it is a conscious choice.
Articles Origin: Making Career Decisions