“We must make time in our daily lives to absorb what we have done, acknowledge where we are before we move forward. Most of us do not realize that our music becomes static because we become stuck in the relentless forward movement of life in a straight line. We must map our lives in another way. We need to perceive our life and our music as a spiral that allows us time for reflection, stillness, and calm. Out of that reflection, stillness, and calm emerge a new level of music making and human relationships. It is, in essence, taking time in one’s life to allow for love and care of self and others to enter into the music-making process that will infuse music making with honesty and human profoundness.” (p. 37)
-James Jordan, The Musician’s Soul
In essence, Mr. Jordan, a well-respected music educator, clinician, and author, is communicating how the ‘stuff’ of life gets in the way of our humanity at times. It’s frustrating to reach a pivotal moment in our timeline, look back, and realize our achievements may have come at a cost. Indeed, I have experienced these regretful epiphanies in my music profession, as an educator, an author, as a mother, a friend, and a daughter. Years ago, I heard a colleague tell our students “to overcommit is to de-commit everywhere.” It was a difficult lesson to absorb, and years later when I had children, it was personally amplified to the nth degree.
What is your definition of success? What is your definition of failure? Does your definition evolve as you spiral through life? What is it inside our being that motivates us to reach for growth or devalue progress, consequently achieving less?
This year as an educator, I have learned the importance of finding one’s “Spark” in this world. Spark is basically the elements, people, hobbies, and passions that make us want to get up and go in the morning. What motivates us? What makes us happy? A large number of youth become adults and never find it; therefore, our teaching mission is to help every student individually define their Spark. I believe defining our Spark assists in achieving a happy upward spiral and a rooted downward spiral. Unfortunately, we miss the mark when we fill up the silence, peace, calm, serenity, and restfulness of our day with “stuff.”
“Music making is constructed of correct notes, correct rhythms, dynamics, and articulation. But the mortar of music is human trust (of self and others), belief in self and others, and love of self. Love of self is immediately magnified through music to love of others.” (p. 7) –J. Jordan, The Musician’s Soul
Ideally, musicians who are most in tune with their personal foundation, spirit, and vulnerability will hold the greatest power affecting the listener’s response from the stage, in the studio, in the recital hall, in rehearsal, performing alone, and as vitally, with others in an ensemble. By knowing, loving, and believing in oneself, which can only grow from quietness and calm, and by caring deeply for those with whom we make music, only then can honest music making take place.
“Without awareness, there can be no growth, little honest music, and little love. Great music is made in a state of awareness.” (p. 15) –J. Jordan, The Musician’s Soul
If music is a form of self-expression, then one must know said self. Find your spark and reach for your center, for it is where your stability and strength lie. Choose to deepen your relationships with those who serve as anchors in your journey, and detox from people who pull you backward in life’s spiral. Finding one’s center is void of pain, past grievances, and the complexities that hold us hostage within our soul. Live to love, my friends…
#musicians #musiceducators #honestmusicianship #spark