I sometimes feel burned out or bogged down with being a musician. Most of the time this happens when I am concentrating on lots of applications and auditions. I have always wondered why exactly this is and I think I may have found a reason.
There are lots of obvious reasons application season is exhausting. If I don’t get accepted, it can be discouraging. The repertoire imposed by the selection committee might not be very exciting to me. Getting a good recording can be a frustrating process.
But what is really going on in my brain?
I think the answer lies in a disconnect between internal and external motivation. In a world/career that relies on external measurements, I am in search of something internal.
My resume or CV is inevitably the document that will earn me a job or at least an interview. It is, supposedly, a measure of my value as a musician but is only a collection of everything external that I have ever achieved.
But as a person, I think I need to pursue an internal sense of value or I will never be happy. I need to find a way to be happy with myself and whatever I am doing with or without the external validation. My value of myself as a musician must be inherently internal.
But this idea of the internal seems to be at odds with the application process. My thoughts and feelings have no place on a resume. So what do I do about that?
I am the Zen Archer aiming at the target that is jobs, festivals, and competitions. But if my goal is to hit the bulls-eye, I will never accomplish what I set out to do. The Zen Archer cannot hit the bulls-eye if he is aiming at it. If my only goal is to win competitions and get jobs, I’ll inevitably become frustrated and disenchanted. An Archer must aim within himself in order to hit the target.
How do I make my goals internal but still achieve external results? Is it even possible to do so? How do I focus on myself, allow the bow to be drawn back, allow it to release, and then let my internal work carry the arrow forward? How do I calibrate my internal values such that I do not need external validation but still get it?
I think the real journey I am on is to find a way to aim within myself while still creating external opportunities to be a musician.