When Play Is Work

Music is now my full-time job. Hard to believe this is finally happening.

Although this transition has been in the planning for the past two years, it has been interrupted many times in many ways.

First there was the economy tanking at the end of 2008. Not really a good time to start a new career.

Then I developed Ulnar Neuritus. That definitely put all plans on hold. Hard to use your hands for music when the fingers are numb and aching most of the time. My former employer had very good medical coverage, and there were the many visits to doctors and therapists that needed to be paid for.

I was finally let go in mid March because I still can’t work on a computer nine hours a day. This happened to coincide with another life-interrupting event: my Dad getting very sick and almost dying. All of March and early April has been taken up with taking care of family. I’m not complaining. My Dad is doing so much better now and will be coming home soon.

So now, finally, life is settling down into a new “normal”. I start my day out by playing and practicing piano for 30 to 60 minutes. Followed by some vocal exercises or whatever additional music skills I would like to develop. Followed by blogging or Facebook or LinkedIn or other web content development.

Most of this activity feels like playing. I feel sort of guilty. I have been conditioned all these years to think of playing music as a form of recreation that I do in my spare time with the occasional professional gig thrown in.

It’s weird to think of me staying at home, not working a “real job”, and instead playing music, songwriting, recording. I’m pinching myself.

But then I realize that although this is play, this is play for a purpose, for a set of objectives. This is actually work I’m doing. It just seems like play.

For example, I have been working on learning some jazz improvisation during my piano practice. This serves a few purposes: First, it improves my sight reading and technique, helpful for studio work. Second, it makes me more prepared for the occasional jazz gig and gigs in general. Finally, it inspires creativity for some of the music content projects I have planned this year.

Wow! I am finally doing what I love to do.

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2 Comments

Filed under Life, Work

2 responses to “When Play Is Work

  1. ken mcnichols

    So glad to hear he’s better!

    Sounds like you’re better, too. Easy with those chops, now.

  2. Yup, I’m being careful with my hand. It’s computer typing that really brings on the symptoms, but I can also overdo it playing piano, and I have enough sense to stop and rest when it starts acting up.

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