harmonicprogression

Choose One Chair

In Best Practices, Mission Statement, Music, Music Business, nashville, People that Rock, Try this, You HAVE to on February 4, 2010 at 10:05 am

“When I was a boy, my father, a baker, introduced me to the wonders of song,” tenor Luciano Pavarotti relates.  “He urged me to work very hard to develop my voice… Arrigo Pola, a professional tenor in my hometown of Modena, Italy, took me as a pupil.  I also enrolled in a teachers college.  On graduating, I asked my father, ‘Shall I be a teacher or a singer?’  “‘Luciano,’ my father replied, ‘if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them.  For life, you must choose one chair.’  “I chose one.  It took seven years of study and frustration before I made my first professional appearance.  It took another seven to reach the Metropolitan Opera.  And now I think whether it’s laying bricks, writing a book–whatever we choose–we should give ourselves to it.  Commitment, that’s the key.  Choose one chair.” (as published by Guideposts)

My mother sent this to me this morning.  Leave it to our mothers to lift us up when we begin to get down.  The truth in this story painfully reminds me that commitment isn’t an easy thing.  His success didn’t take 7 days, or 7 months, but it played out over years and years of hard work only after making the initial decision to sit sit in the music chair.  This marriage to music was the best commitment he ever made.

Most people come to Nashville believing they will be famous in minutes and this delusional thinking makes them turn around and head home in about 6 months (if they make it that long).  The small minority of people who understand the time it takes to be truly committed to your passion set down roots and settle into the town.  Just like a romantic relationship takes time to develop if it going to stand the test of time and the blows life will throw it’s way – individuals pursuing their musical passions have to take time and understand the town, the musical climate, and how they fit into the equation of the music industry.

That does not happen overnight!  In the time it takes to succeed in music, you may get distracted by life, jobs, relationships and you could begin to lose focus.  It is hard to sit on the “musical chair” when you have to pay bills and sit on the “work chair” most days.  Don’t get discouraged.  If a role and longevity in the music business is what you are longing for – there is nothing you can do (past “showing up” everyday) to make it happen sooner.  So today – if you haven’t done it yet… start thinking about how many chairs you are sitting in – which ones take away from your goals and which ones do you have to be in to stay here.

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment.  When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit.  When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.”


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  1. He’s got a beautiful voice and that thing called perseverance… two admirable qualities! Keep on keepin’ on all you Nashvillians!

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