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--- Mar 24 1999 Go to category
Subject: What are the best parts of your life as a musician?
Category: General Questions
From: berklee  commencement address 97 (usa)

What are the best parts of your life as a musician?

Pat’s Answer:

whatever benefits i've ever gotten from being a musician in a material sense or in the form of recognition, the fundamental reward that i still get the most satisfaction from is the process of what being a musician is. it's that need and desire to want to go home and practice that's the coolest thing. the part where you start with nothing, have a musical idea or vision or aspiration, and through discipline and organization and preparation, and especially inspiration, you finally end up with the capacity to do something that you didn't know you could do.

this process is an essential part of all music making activities that we as musicians probably often take for granted, but it is a skill that throughout our lives as players we have an opportunity to learn about and refine to very high degree. knowing about that process can apply to everything in life. and it's for that reason that many of the greatest people i've ever known have been essentially musicians, whether professional or even literally or not, they have lived their life in a way that that musical process was a guiding part of how they set about solving their problems and living their lifes.

i realize that of all the cool things that have happened to me, the best one is that i know i can play a whole lot better now than i could 20 years ago. i wouldn't trade any of the outside benefits of what my "career" has offered me for that; that sense of personal and musical growth.

despite whatever kinds of traditional successes or failures that may or may not happen to you throughout your life as a musician, the best rewards you will receive are embedded in the actual music itself that you will make. that is, you may or may not have success by the standards that society in general uses to quantify things like that, but the real genuine true success that transcends the day to day stuff is gonna be in the fact that you know about music and are intimately familiar with not only music itself , but the process of making it.