The flurry of activity from the last year winds down. The summer, with its crazy schedule of rehearsing, performing, recording, promoting, and networking, is behind us. The new CD is out. The holidays are drawing to a close, and for a moment all is still and calm. I find myself asking, “Well, where DO I go from here?”
This prompts a flood of related questions, for how can I know where I am going unless I understand who I am and what I want? Sure, at some level, I just want to play. But that is overly simplistic; there is much more to it than that.
So I started writing down the questions.( While these questions are valid in a much broader context, for the time being I am focusing on how this all relates to my music. )
- Who am I as a musician? What is my musical identity?
- What is my creative vision? Where do I see myself going in the next year? The next 5 years? The next 10 years?
- What are my strengths?
- Where does the joy in music come from?
- What moments in music do I enjoy the most?
- What parts of being a musician do I enjoy the most?
- What unique gifts do I have?
- What do I do exceptionally well that is distinctive, that sets me apart from other musicians?
- What do I do better than anybody else?
- If I were to be identified by one single musical trait or quality, what would that be? What would I like it to be?
- How/when/where do I shine as a musician?
- What circumstances, environments, situations make it possible for me to really shine as a musician?
- What gifts do I have to offer to those who listen to my music?
- What benefit does my music bring to the world?
- What do I do that is unexpected, a pleasant surprise?
- Where do lists come from?
These are all good questions. And what is vital is not so much the answers, as it is the process of asking and exploring the questions, and gaining insight into myself, my goals, and my sense of purpose.