Luckier and Better For It, After All I Have a Job, Right?
I have a job. This job pays well. There are fleeting moments where I am proud of my job. I work with some folk, some of whom are tremendous musicians, that have been real close friends. They’re affable and mostly intelligent fellows, who always want what we all want: happiness.
I have a job. This job is “technically” in the field to which I intend(ed) to belong: music. Defining one’s self by one’s occupation can be motivating & narcissistic or motivating & centripetal. I suppose I lean to the latter.
I have a job. This job drives me properly bonkers. I concentrate daily to keep my resting heart rate down. I thought I signed up for one thing, and I got another. I have equal complaints and praises for what I do.
But my complaints will find themselves in music I write, so here some praises:
Money is nice. It allows me to travel. I’ve been able to travel to NYC quite a bit to see two life mates of mine. They are, first off, the easiest friends to interact with. I can have musically intelligent conversations with them; I can learn from them, and I like to imagine they can find things to learn from me. I can have non-musically-related intelligent conversations with them. I can have dumb conversations with them. I can tell them when they’re wrong, when they’re right. They can totally tell me when I’m wrong, and right. I have fun with them.
As a result of traveling to NYC I’ve been offered other musical endeavors, and have solidified the idea that I will some day soon find myself to be a New Yorker. If I can survive on minimal money, scraping by, sleeping in different places, and still thrive off of that to be musically productive and fulfilled, as I am well-versed in (and now I have money to sidebar all of those material securities) then I could be a damn good New Yorker.
Music is nicer. I have forced myself into a learning environment. That is to say, rather, that I have forced a new segment in my life where I am learning. My environment is educational, but in the same way you learn by observing your nasty teachers and professors what you don’t want to be like.
Jazz. I really knew that I enjoyed jazz, and certain types of it, but I didn’t know much about it. You wouldn’t want me as a phone-a-friend for your jazz-based game show money winner. I have played jazz guitar for a while now, but truth be told I am merely a guitarist who thinks he knows what sounds right. Further reduced, I am less a jazz guitarist and more a guitarist who knows the word jazz (and then went and bought himself an appropriate guitar and amp to make such music).
When I do get the chance to play jazz music with my co-workers, it often has the chance to be f^&*ing awesome. We do some GREAT things, but we all have our vices. I wear my view of myself on my sleeve, but then again I point out my strengths to myself as much as I can: I have a great ear. My memory is good. I understand, for the most part, the predictability of music and standard harmonic analytical practice. Do I follow the changes when soloing? Fat chance.
My jazz combo makes progress, albeit slowly, by thanks of our job. Despite that, I have a saxophonist who is just so damn passionate about getting better, that, for me, he is always fun to play with. I have a bassist who, when he gets grooving, I move out of his way because he can really get down when he wants to. I have a drummer who’s just terrific. And I have a trumpeter who is garsh-dangit tremendous, and will be the first pick for my dodgeball team–dodgeball team in this context being clearly NOT a dodgeball team. He’s a music writer too. He’s good. I hope he knows he’s good.
Learning is nicest. I have the luxury of time. Most of my co-workers, I would imagine, might disagree with this statement, at least at first. I often have time at work to study and practice and read and consume. I don’t ALWAYS have that, but I can find a pleasurable chunk of time throughout the week to devote time to things I am interested in, and can justify it as professional development. In most accounts, I’m practically being paid to study.
My interests have developed and changed and that is partly due to the time I have. In the future, pursuing more formal composition training will be happening. My view on what “good music” is to me, has developed and changed. My view on the world, and my country(-y, +ies), and politics and news has changed. I see masses of people across the world acting based on different basic human emotions: out of fear, out of compassion, out of ignorance, out of love.
- I see people come to work everyday working out of sheer panic and disorder. Though, as I have somewhat recently done a better job at reminding myself of my old, less-easily manipulated self, it is their fault. Our job IS looney. It IS stressful. And we DO want to scream at each other. BUT, I like to think we accept the achievement and happiness we think we deserve.
WE control how we VIEW situations. We dictate how our day goes.
You either view the hurdle in front of you as:
- an annoyance
- something you will struggle to get over, but will inevitably get over
- SOMETHING YOU CAN SAY “FUCK IT” TO AND BREAK THE DAMN THING.
I am luckier and better for where I’m at. I’m learning a lot and have a solid view of my straightaway. My music is better. I’m writing again, and this time in a completely different manner from a completely different view of music. I am better at writing the sounds I’m not hearing, and I’m better at appreciating wider varieties and colors of music.
I am luckier and better for where I’m at. I’ve re-learned to know my strengths and weaknesses. I can calmly observe now when I am over-qualified or under-qualified, why that qualification is necessary, and when I’m not being challenged and how to fix that.
I am luckier and better for where I’m at. I mean…I have job after all, right?