Thursday, February 5, 2009

Artist at 27

When I started college I was newly 18, a music major looking to do something big with myself. I'd been blessed with amazing performance opportunities in high school and had already worked professionally for a few years. I planned to be with my band for a long time and I loved performing just as much as I loved the geekitude of music theory and composition. I didn't have the clearest map carved out in my mind, but I knew I had places to go and I planned to hit as many stops as possible along the way.


I didn't account for possibly meeting Superman. Or that marriage thing that I so often said I'd never do.


So I did another thing I said I'd never do- I began to teach. At first it was about making a living. As a musician you only have a few real sources of income before you have to resort to a "real job" and teaching private students is the best chance for a steady income. I started out with just a few kids and to my surprise I kind of liked it. I learned more about pedagogy and teaching methods and found that I liked it even more.


Here I am almost 10 years later closing in on 28, married and raising 2 kids, running a business full-time, and nary a performance in sight . . . how did that happen? 27 was originally intended to be a lot of late nights and equally late mornings, playing gigs, writing music, and generally being an artistic type.


At least I was partially right 10 years ago. I am having a lot of late nights (thanks to Little Bit) and I am writing a lot of music (though for a teaching project, not gigs). Performances are now given by Big Kid and Little Bit- Big Kid accepts applause for a job well done, Little Bit prefers laughter. My artistic side has moved into sewing and knitting, lesson planning, baking and crafting with littles. There are very few late mornings- Little Bit is far too excited to start each day to wait until a respectable waking hour, so we start early and quietly. He's right- there is too much fun to be had each day to sleep hours after sunshine hits.


This year has been a "quarter-life crisis" for me, as Superman calls it. I've spent a lot of time thinking about what I want from my life, thinking back on all the changes, what I used to love and desire, trying to sort out my current wants. I've felt for awhile that I want to perform again, that I want to get back to some of that old life. But then the opportunity actually presented itself just a few weeks ago and I had to truly consider what I wanted and what is important to me. I was amazed to find that this opportunity confirmed the present-day truth- I am exactly where I want to be right now.


Maybe it isn't artistic or musical or anywhere close to where I imagined a decade back, but perfect for right now.


  1. I just found your blog the other day. Your story sounds so similar to mine: 31 years old, piano performance major turned stay-at-home mom. I only have 1 child so far, but even she limits my performing opportunities! I'm learning that I'm in a "season" and when this one passes there will be time to perform. :) (I do find my outlets now, though, playing for my church choir and sightreading string quartets/quintets with some ladies at my house once a quarter!)

  2. I really enjoyed your post today! I love seeing the directions peoples' lives take.

    I thought you might enjoy hearing about some young friends of mine that I visited this past weekend. Both are in their early thirties and they are married with a 16 month old little boy.

    For a while this couple had a rocky road because the young man did not appear to have a PLAN or GOAL. The young lady in question was the daughter of a bank president etc...and that kind of life was what she understood. The young man played guitar at gigs everywhere around the city but did not have a 9-5 job, much to the dismay of the beautiful young lady's parents.

    Move ahead several years and this is the present day scenario. The husband has a studio where he builds guitars. He has studied with impressive guitar makers and has had wonderful people work for him doing mother-of-pearl inlay work etc. (He still has many gigs, mainly bluegrass.) Recently a dealer in Athens Greece has requested a shipment of 50 of his guitars for his store.

    The young wife has been working part time for the Canadian Opera Company, teaching classes on creating operas and sets. She works with classes on writing a libretto, on printing to enhance sets, use of color and brush techniques, etc. One of her classes was with a group of difficult teens brought by the police. The print they chose to work with was a graffiti style. She said the performance was really good, the work truly satisfying. I can see why her happy charm would appeal to young people.

    I never would have guessed the life style this couple has managed to achieve...nor the pride of their parents along the way.


Please add your thoughts to the conversation!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...