Why I Work
Happy Summer, everyone!
This is my first summer off from school in three years and I've had a ton of time to learn and grow my business as well as soak up those rays and train for a half marathon (hopefully you're following me on instagram @ellezeemusic and @zinnstagram for updates on all fronts).
I've been thinking a lot lately about teaching music and eventually growing my studio into a space to practice music therapy as well (#Lesley2023). I've realized there are some students I really connect with and I love to witness their growth and truly experience my influence on it, while there are others where I'm never sure I'm effective enough. It's an ongoing journey to remember it is the latter group that helps me to grow into a better musician and music teacher as opposed to any sort of twisted evidence I am inadequate. I am hesitant to even admit that thought pattern here, as it's my tendency to want to inspire with positivity and success, rather than admit when I struggle. However, in an effort to be fully transparent, and quite honestly, authentically human, I am admitting to you that I doubt myself, I don't always connect with every student, and there are many times when I don't know the answer. I think it's important to take those opportunities to learn more, to find answers, to foster connection, and to grow.
This leads tangentially into my intention for this blog post: my reason for writing. I had the honor of being taught and mentored at Berklee by Eric Roberson, who early on in several of the songwriting classes I took with him, asked us to define our demographic - and not just "18-25 year old English-speaking females," but everything down to zodiac sign, relationship history, epistemology, you get it. The point being, you need to know who you're writing for in order to reach them successfully.
I don't think I quite realized the full value of this assignment until recently. Each month I set out to write these posts hoping people will read them and find some inspiration somehow, but I struggle to come up with content, to know if what I'm writing is reaching anybody - much like with those students I've not quite completely connected with.
With my songwriting, blogging, and social media practices, I've sort of defaulted to saying, "Oh, I'm just doing this for myself and whoever finds it finds it". To a certain extent, this is true, and a I believe part of what has helped me stay connected to myself. Truly, though, I have a passion for reaching others - I would not be in this field if I didn't, and it is helpful for me to define exactly who and what I am working for - as a musician, teacher, and rising music therapist/mental health counselor.
Thus, this blog post is born.
Much of my philosophy in life is based in the idea of limitless human potential. I work to show people what is possible when they believe in themselves.
I am working for the people who don't quite believe in themselves yet, but somewhere inside them believe that they could.
I am working for the people who want to experience joy in the creative process of making music and enjoying the sounds their minds and bodies can produce.
I am working for the people who are discovering their own voices and are open to expressing them through music.
I am working to share my own process of self-discovery, creativity, and empowerment through the medium of music with others who want to discover their own.
It is for these reasons I think life, music, philosophy, catharsis, are all connected and essential.
I recently cried in a voice lesson through the sheer emotional connection I felt through the song and was so grateful to be able to access the feelings and express them. My teacher said, "Well this is not meant to be therapy, but we can draw on our emotional experiences to tell stories." Maybe music is not meant to be therapy, but it can be, and how beautiful.
If you're down with these ideas, I appreciate your solidarity. If not, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Enjoy your days.