Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tuning Slide: The Reality of Dreams

Weekly Reflections on Life and Music

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams,
and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined,
he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
-Henry David Thoreau

A month or so ago I came across a group of people going door-to-door for some cause or other. I was polite and said, "Hello. How are things going?" The answer was a kind of sarcastic, almost fatalistic, "Living the dream!"

Huh? I just went on my way- as did they.

A couple days ago I was talking to a fellow trumpet player who asked about my involvement in groups and my regular routine. After telling him he responded, "Well, that is being a musician full-time."

I smiled and said that this has been a dream of mine for years- to be a "full-time musician. Finally, with semi-retirement, I'm doing it."

When I stop and think about that statement I am still taken aback. What right does a 67-year old retired pastor and semi-retired counselor have to think he can be a "full-time musician?" Even though I don't need to do it to make a living, is it realistic? Isn't it naïve to think it is possible or should even be worth doing?

One of the quotes I wrote down at the end of trumpet camp last summer was:
The reality of dreams comes from naive ideas.
Simply put, even to think some of our dreams are possible is an act of naive belief. As usual, I like to look at definitions and found these two for naive:
  • showing a lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment.
  • natural and unaffected; innocent.
Most times when we dream of things we would like to do or become there is a definite lack of experience. It is naive in that we don't know what it means or even how to get there. It sounds impossible. We may be told, "Get real!"

A lack of experience, wisdom and judgment, however, can easily lead to the second definition- innocent. Many dreams have a simple, joyful aspect to them. They are based on innocent belief that this might just very well be possible. It can be found in that age-old question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I once wanted to be an astronaut. But it wasn't a dream. Just a sense of adventure. I also dreamed of being a youth worker, a counselor, a preacher, a radio announcer and a TV host/producer.

I have been ALL of these at times in the past 50 years. I found ways to make all those naive dreams into reality.

I have also dreamed of being a musician. I never let go of that one. Things often got in the way- like earning a living, time commitments, etc. But I never let the trumpet go. Whenever and however I could, I found ways to keep playing, however sporadic or mediocre it was at times.

The subject is dreams and believing in them as possible. This is all about the reality of dreams beginning in naive innocence and growing into existence.

When researching this week's post I came across a blog by Joey Tartell, an Associate Professor of Trumpet and the Director of Undergraduate Studies at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. In a post titled "Belief" he had this to say:
Last week, in a lesson, I told a student that I knew she could play the piece in question great. But the look I got back from her reminded me of the second hardest part of teaching:

There are times where the teacher has more belief in the student than the student has in her/himself....

Which brings me back to belief. It’s a very difficult concept to teach. Try this: picture a player that you admire. Now you need to know that that player was once a beginner. That player was not born playing at a world class level. That player had to learn fundamentals and music just like everyone else. And on the first day of playing did not sound like a professional. So if that player can do it, why not you?
Belief in oneself is at the heart of turning dreams into reality.Belief is based on your dreams and the reality those dreams represent. Belief is based on what you think you are able to accomplish, what your skills are and, just as importantly, what your skills can develop into!

Back when I was talking about the Inner Game of Music I wrote the following:
Self-trust. Do you believe you can do it? Have you worked on being able to do it? Have you set goals, formal or informal to be ready to do it? Have you allowed you and the music to meld into a unique idea?

If so, you can do it.

If not, don't quit, just go back and work some more. But remember, sooner or later we will have to be ready. Do it. You know you can.
That is belief and it is basic to overcoming the inner barriers we place in our own way. Such trust and belief is what we build as we practice, develop helpful and healthy routines, begin to develop our skills into new levels of experience and even expertise. This is where those routines and experiences, the people we hang around with, the story we discover in ourselves and the song we sing come together. In our dreams and the belief we can live them.

Joey Tartell concludes his post:
So here’s what I need for you to do:
  • Dream big. Think of what you want to do, not what you’d settle for.
  • Realize that someone gets to do that, so it could be you.
  • Get working, because it’s unlikely anyone is just going to hand it to you. You need to earn it.
But most importantly, believe in the possibility. Like most things, this becomes a logic problem for me. So follow me here:
  • If you don’t believe, your chances of success are virtually zero.
  • If you believe, your chances are now higher than zero just based on the acceptance of the possibility of success.
Link- Belief to Dreams

By the way- the Shell Lake Trumpet Camp is less than three months away. Link.

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