The Road to Happiness in Music

Musician's SoulViolinist Holly Mulcahy has written an interesting and insightful post about finding happiness and keeping perspective while pursing a competitive career in music. Holly is the concertmaster of the Chattanooga Symphony and the author of the popular blog, Neo ClassicalIf you’re a young musician enduring the rigors of the audition circuit in the hopes of winning the “big job,” Holly’s post is a must read. Even if you’re not a musician, you’ll find her thoughts relevant.

Reading Holly’s post, I was reminded of this quote by Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero With a Thousand Faces and The Power of Myth:

If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.

James Jordan’s book The Musician’s Soul offers additional wisdom. The book stresses the importance of openness and vulnerability in the creative process as well as finding your center and appreciating the importance of solitude as well as community. There are many great quotes throughout the book. Here are a few:

If people are not humane, what is the use of rites? If people are not humane, what is the use of music?

-Confucius

It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.

-e.e. cummings 

No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.

-Helen Keller

Our problems are inside our lives, yes; but our lives are lived inside fields of power, under the influence of others, in accordance with authority, subject to tyrannies. Moreover, our lives are lived inside fields of power that are our cities with their offices and cars, systems of work and mountains of trash. These too are powers impinging in our souls. When the wider world breaks down and is sick at heart, the individual suffers accordingly.

-James Hillman 

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.

-Leo Tolstoy

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