Written by: April Vargo
I'd like to think of myself as a solution driven person armed with witty adages ready to help at a moment's notice. Somedays this is absolutely true and other days I'm stuck in my own head unable to see the forest from the trees.
There seemed to be a common theme amongst all of my students this week, the strong desire for perfection. This week my students shared their fears of failure, singing the wrong notes, or their voices cracking. Fear usually results in holding back, tension, and plenty of mistakes being made.
I always find myself coaching them to look beyond the fear...."What if I fail?"....but...."What if you succeed?"
Music is a living, breathing entity. It's a completely human element that is felt, made, shared, and flawed. Some of the most beautiful pieces of music were written by incredibly flawed men and women. For instance....Mozart was an alcoholic who died penniless and was buried in an unmarked grave in the secrecy of night. Beethoven had a sordid past and died of syphilis. Countless other composers and music greats from all genres have pasts that don't carry a PG rating. Yet they use their imperfections to create something beautiful.
To clarify, I'm not condoning drugs, alcohol or sex by any means, but instead, merely stating that some of the greatest minds in music are people you would never want to emulate.
This got me thinking about the correlation between music, life, and the search for perfection. In our insta-filtered driven society, it's important to point out that what we see isn't always reality. There are so many lessons in the study of music that aid us in how we live our lives.
For instance, as musicians we're always practicing and honing our skills trying to find that one moment where everything clicks and magic is made. When that happens you forget all about all of the hours of failed practice times, the countless cuts, takes, or re-recordings until the project is complete. We all have a sound and a vision that we're striving for. There's so much beauty in the process, the mistakes, and missed notes. In all that mess we discover ourselves, much like life.
We all have a vision or ideal of what our life would be like. Sometimes we meet these expectations, other times we fall short, and still others we exceed our wildest expectations.
I've personally learned and grown a lot this past year. My husband and I have been met with some of the biggest hurdles of our almost nine years of marriage, as well as experienced some of the happiest and most magical moments of our lives.
We have had to let go of some people in our lives who have hurt us, but we also opened our hearts to new people who have brought so much joy and love. We welcomed our first child, experienced job changes, dealt with family illness, all while trying to build a family, build a nest egg and somehow pay the never ending bills that keep pouring in, and work on a home that seems to present one project after another.
Some days I look at everything that's been put on our plate and it can appear overwhelming. Then I take a step back and realize we have a beautiful, healthy, happy daughter. My husband and I both have careers we love, finally at the same time! We have a beautiful home that we get to work on together that provides endless memories, shelter, and warmth. There is always food on our table, family and friends who love us and we love them, and a life that we're building together.
Through it all we have grown together. I would actually venture to say we are a stronger couple and family because of it. When I really stop to think about it, I'm learning to love the imperfections, the messiness, and the uncertainty that life brings.
Much like the creative process, there are messy moments, but every so often the stars align and magic happens. That's when you know all the ups and downs have been worth it. Without you even knowing it, you've been creating the perfect life and story all along. You just needed to find it within all of life's imperfections...the truth is, that's where the beauty lies.