So I've had conflicting thoughts and feelings about competitions for a long time now, and only recently did I come to the conclusion I talk about in this video.
On the one hand, winning a competition only means that you happen to be the best in a very specific pool of people--it does not actually mean you're the best in the world. There will always be someone better than you.
Is that okay?
In my mind, yes. How else does humankind advance? We are always trying to better ourselves. We can learn from each other, inspire each other, encourage each other to do more. In this collaborative spirit, I feel that we would all benefit from a bit of friendly "one-upping" each other.
If done in the right spirit, competitions can be extremely beneficial to everyone. Competitions have the capacity to be the ultimate form of collaboration, where we all band together to see how great we can all really be.
From what I hear, talking about your period is already more acceptable now than it was when I was in school, but even so, there's still a bit of a stigma around it, as if it's dirty, so we don't talk about it.
Here's the deal: It's messy, not dirty. And anyone born with female parts has to deal with this. It's normal!
There have been so many times I've wanted to just tell people that I'm on my period, but I'm always afraid of their response. Will they think I'm improper? Will they think I'm disgusting?
In recent years, I've started to reach the point where I don't really care what people think anymore, and hence this video. I think we should all talk about it freely. We don't need to be secretive about it! Rehearsals and lessons would go so much better if we had the social freedom to let people know when us ladies are on our periods. Other people would be more understanding, people won't misread our blank faces as disrespectful, teachers will understand why their lady students might have a week every month where they don't seem to connect with the concepts they're teaching, and students will understand when their lady teachers are having brain farts or just can't produce good tone that day.
In short, talking about periods would probably lessen a hell of a lot of the drama that happens in the music world.
So let's get talking!
I wonder how many other teachers reached the same revelations as me. At one point in your teaching career, you'll suddenly realize that what you're teaching your students will be what they take as the right way to do things. How scary is that? Especially when the world and our concepts of everything are always evolving. Sometimes you have to take your word back and apologize for teaching something wrong. You have to let your students see that they're not the only ones learning--so are you.
Teachers are rarely thought of as "just another human being" with their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Teachers are sort of glorified into grading machines. But when life appoints us as teachers, you suddenly realize that teachers don't know everything either. But it's precisely that--knowing that you don't know everything--that drives you to learn more, so that you can teach more. You want your students to know more than you ever did. You want your students to learn concepts earlier and faster than you did. You want to go farther than you. You want them to learn more than you ever will.
You want to keep the world evolving.
Part of me wonders if loving being the second flutist is actually an unpopular opinion after all. Perhaps we just don't like to admit it because being first flute is seen as "better".
I personally feel that being second flutist poses interesting challenges that I love to overcome. How do you switch from a blending sound to a more soloistic sound in a flash? How do you blend so that you make the first flutist sound even better than they already are? How does your counterpoint fit in with the first flutist? Can you make your harmony sound the fundamental underneath?
Granted, not everyone will like these challenges--in fact, plenty of people will see these challenges as as nuisance. But I discovered that I LOVE them. When I overcome them, I get a rush of adrenaline and a huge sense of accomplishment. It gives me life!
What chair do you like to sit in the orchestra, and why? Let me know! :)
I'm starting to share some thoughts that I have accumulated over the years since going to music school. The most difficult ones to articulate are like the thoughts in this video--the ones that cause an internal conflict.
My goal for this new year is to become even more transparent with you guys and to let you guys know that you're not alone in your internal conflicts and struggles in the music world. There's a lot more than just the music, the instruments, and the technique. When you throw yourself into music, you throw yourself into other people's lives too.
And that's where a lot of drama tends to happen. If you're not careful, even when you try to help, you can be seen as a show-off or a bully. This video outlines a few thoughts I have about how to avoid that.
Let me know what your thoughts are too! I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking about these kinds of things. :)