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English: LED display boards along West 65th St...

West 65th Street, New York City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My answer has always been “Yes!”  No question.

Shortly after moving to New York, I attended a weekend seminar sponsored by the Concert Artists Guild.  Different speakers took about an hour each.  The seminar provided information for musicians wanting to get there careers to the next level.

One participant, a cellist, had recently finished a degree at Juilliard.  She was wondering what to do next.  Shortly after the seminar, she became the cellist in a well-known string quartet.

My career progressed significantly as well.

The conductor of the New Haven Symphony was one of the speakers. He opened his presentation with the question, “Are you sure you want to do this?” He spoke about performing outside the city.  When the concert is over, you have to enjoy going to the bus station and plugging quarters into the vending machine.  That’s dinner!

He was right then, and still is. Inconvenience is built into the reality of being an artist. Unless your life centers around your residence, and there are very few distractions, you just have to deal.

Possibly due to my Dutch heritage, I’ve become pretty good at finding ways to enjoy the ride.  The Dutch have to cooperate with their neighbors for their own survival, since Holland is, after all, below sea level.  They are also happy about small things, not relying on major events to find something to be happy about. So, when plugging those quarters into that vending machine, it’s fun to make the best choices from the selection available.  When faced with no time to have a sit-down dinner, calling ahead to a restaurant works.  Good food on the bus trumps bad food or late-night dinner.  Ordering delivery on a day off is more fun, even when eating out of “to go” containers, when you can use something other than gourmet plastic utensils.

When you live in New York, you learn very quickly that transportation delays happen all the time.  So you have a choice:  you can feel upset whenever that happens, or you can deal with it and have something along to do.

I love going “somewhere else,” which I rarely had the opportunity to do as a child.  Music has been my ticket to make that happen.  If being inconvenienced is part of the deal, I’ll take it.

What’s the alternative?

“Are you sure you want to do this?”  

What is your answer?

Comments?  Please use this Contact Form, or email me at gretchensaathoff1 [at] gmail.com

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