“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

Each of us has our own unique story of how we came to choose music, and the struggles and victories we’ve had as we’ve walked down that path. This week, one of my closest friends, Lauren Tokunaga, shares some of the lessons she’s learned from her own timeline.


Coming from high school and entering undergrad, I thought I had it all figured out. I had a meticulously-crafted plan for the next four years of my life–until I realized I’d probably, most likely, with 95% certainty be completely and utterly miserable and sleep-deprived pursuing my major of choice, architecture (clerestory windows and flying buttresses, anyone?).

Cue mid-college-life crisis come end of sophomore year. Continue reading

always be learning

The man who graduates today and stops

I and many of my friends are at a crossroads right now as we think about life after graduation. Whether or not we can be accepted into graduate programs, win orchestra jobs, or find solid teaching work–for many, these are uncertainties that may be made clear in the few months before commencement or may remain hazy for years. Whatever life may take us, I think we can take some inspiration from the attitude of great musicians like Brahms and Joachim:

My dear Friend–Thank you for your letter and the two enclosures….I am to remind you that to-morrow afternoon (2 o’clock?) the [Schumann] children are passing through Hanover. We are loading them up with bread and butter and oranges here; you are to see to the coffee. And then I want to remind you of what we have so often discussed, and beg you to let us carry it out, namely, to send one another exercises in counterpoint. Each should send the other’s back every fortnight (in a week’s time therefore) with remarks and his own work, this to continue for a good long time, until we have both become really clever.

Why should not two sensible, earnest people like ourselves be able to teach one another far better than any Pf. [Professor?] could? But do not merely reply in words. Send me your first study in a fortnight….I am looking forward hopefully to the first batch. Let us take it seriously! It would be very pleasant and useful. I think it is a delightful idea. –Always yours,

Johannes.

(Brahms, in a letter to Joachim from Düsseldorf, February 26, 1856)

Let’s be lifelong students, always seeking to learn with and from each other, whether or not it’s within the walls of a classroom. Here’s to the future!

Sources:

stranded on a desert island (#2)

A blog series in which a musician shares which three pieces they would choose to listen to, if they were hypothetically stranded on an island and could only listen to those three pieces for the rest of their life. Want to contribute? Contact me here!

This week, I share my own choices (and realize how cruel it actually is of me to limit people to only three pieces when I ask them this question)!

Continue reading