“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”
– Oscar Wilde
Particularly for student musicians, a common issue is comparing ourselves to our colleagues and peers. Of course, this is not exclusive to musicians and it occurs in all aspects of life. Maintaining focus when lots of other things are happening is difficult. I personally think that it is important to be aware of our surroundings and the people we have in our circle. However, for me, drive and determination should always come from within and not from the actions of others. Inspiration from others is always a good thing but relying on someone else’s actions as a catalyst to create one’s on action is not always effective. It is very easy to become distracted, sidetracked and driven off course especially when someone else in constantly in the subconscious. For me, concentrating on my own progress in life, music, relationships etc is far more important, relevant and useful than tracking someone else’s.
I’m a firm believer that everyone has something unique and different to offer and we should all treasure our individuality. Insecurity is always there but we have must not let it stop us from making progress. I know that I may not be as technically accomplished as other musicians but I don’t wallow in self pity. Whilst I’m working behind closed doors to improve my weak areas, I champion my strengths. The trouble with being a musician is that we spend hours upon hours practising without recognition because no one sees the hard work we put it in. It’s the iceberg analogy. People only see the top, the success and not all the stress, anxiety and hard work underneath. Sometimes, I think how great it would be if someone were to give an applause at the end of every good practise session. But alas, the reality is that sometimes we have to give ourselves a pat on the back.
Gone are the days of putting myself down. Inject some positivity into your life. Don’t be a doubting Thomas. Believe in yourself. Encourage yourself.
I’ve learnt to blow my own trumpet. If I don’t, no-one else will.