Living a Musical Life

Posted on Jun 14, 2015

My colleague Dana Putnam Fonteneau wrote another brilliant blog recently called “Will I Ruin My Musical Career if I take a Non-Performing Job?”

http://wholeheartedmusician.com/2015/05/14/will-i-ruin-my-musical-career-if-i-take-a-non-performing-job/

This blog attracted a lot of attention and she wrote a follow up to it which is also excellent.

http://wholeheartedmusician.com/2015/05/24/can-i-really-have-a-day-job-and-a-performing-career-pt-2/

These blog posts are spot on and thought provoking. Read them!

It reminded me of a workshop my colleague Michelle Kunz (www.michellekunz.com and I gave 2 years ago called “The Self Map of a Musician”

Michelle and I are both Body Mapping instructors and part of the body map is the self map. Our body maps are our self-representations in our brains of how we are structured, how we function and what size we are. Our self maps are how we see ourselves, who we are to ourselves. The American College Dictionary defines the self as the individual consciousness in its relation to itself.

One of the main issues that taking a day job brings up for musicians is that it may cause them to question themselves as artists.

So when Michelle and I were working on putting our workshop together, one of the sections of our workshop we spent a fair amount of time on was naming all of the roles we play as musicians in society.

We came up with the following list of roles that musicians play as artists in society:

Performer: professional, amateur, volunteer

Teacher: university, school teacher, private studio, workshop facilitators, mentors, coaches

Composer: original, arranging, etudes/exercises

Researcher: historical, in support of performance, score study, academic

Entrepreneur: running a studio, marketing yourself

Collaborator: musical, business

Writer: program notes, articles, books, blog

Mover: organic, choreographed

Actor: organic, planned

Leader: section, chamber, organization, self

Other (specifically as it applies to music/art): ____________________________

So when I read Dana’s blog I immediately made the connection to the self map. In the first dialogue Dana wrote, it was clear that the musician wasn’t seeing anything about taking her day job in administration and telemarketing that served her self map as a musician.

In the second dialogue, it was clear that the job would give the musician the financial security she needed to pursue her musical self map at the same time giving her valuable skills that would serve her self map as well, in addition to having time to practice and pursue her artistry. All in the reframing!

Reframing is key word here and Dana offered some outstanding questions that can lead to answers which can give musical artists direction in maintaining a sense of musical self and career intention.

For me personally, my day jobs are the work I do mentoring students in the Oakland Unified School district for the Oakland Symphony’s Music for Excellence or MUSE program. I also teach Body Mapping, Alexander Technique and flute lessons, all while having an active performing career. All of my jobs feed my musical self map as a musician and teaching artist.
I’m a better performer because of all of the teaching I do and I’m a better teacher for being an active performer. I also acknowledge my good fortune to live a musical life where I feel like all of the different things I do feed the other things that I do.

Some great books on entrepreneurial musicianship that I have enjoyed are:
Lessons from a Street-Wise Music Professor by Ramon Ricker.
http://rayricker.com/street-wise.php

The Savvy Musician by David Cutler
http://www.savvymusician.com/