Originally published by Michael J. Glasgow, Area 3 Newsletter Editor, in the Bell-O-Gram
How many times has a version of that phrase come out of your mouth? I just don’t care.
Musicians are a quirky bunch. We tend to be deeply passionate about our craft, and that passion often spills over into other parts of our lives. But that also tends to make us enthusiastic “do-ers” who hopelessly overcommit ourselves. Sooner or later, something has to give. Unfortunately, that “something” is often “everything.”
I’ve seen it more times than I care to remember: musicians heavily involved (even non-musical ways) in their communities, churches, school districts, professional and extracurricular organizations. One day, the the threat of burnout becomes to much as an already-full plate gets just the tiniest bit of, shall we say, “schedule-garnish.” Instead of picking off the offending sprig of parsley, they scrape the entirety of the meal into the trash, preferring the plate to be completely empty instead of “too full.”
The frustrated comments become: I couldn’t take it anymore. I was spread too thin. Everyone wants everything from me. I just don’t care. And another shining star burns out.
Sometimes, what happens is even worse: musicians continue playing – sometimes even professionally – but they truly “don’t care” anymore. Even the most technically perfect music becomes lifeless and uninspiring, because the passion and zeal that which used to bring them unparalleled joy has disappeared, reduced to nothing more than a “mean to an end” paycheck, or the fulfillment of an old obligation.
As one of our most stressful musical seasons begins, I encourage you to reflect on your love of music. (I know. You don’t have the time, or else you wouldn’t need to spend it in reflection. In that case, couple it folding laundry, brushing your teeth or any of the many mindless things we all must do.) If you can, talk with friends and colleagues about what it is you love about music. Remember what first brought you into music in the first place, and then revisit that source of joy every time you feel like saying “I just don’t care.”
I’m willing to bet you find that you do care, after all.