Artists’ Passion, Rejection, and Advice from Wayne Gretzky

The life of a musician, of any artist really, is a tough and arduous road. For most, things will not always end the way you want them to, but it’s how you deal with those moments that will determine the rest of your career. For those that know me and/or have read my blog, you know I just returned home from the best 7 months of my life as I studied with some of the best guitarists and lutenists in the world in Alicante, Spain. Within a week of moving back, I got a job with the Vivaldi Music Academy (http://vivaldimusicacademy.com) and have been making connections for possible chamber music projects in the future.

This past Saturday, I auditioned for the Young Artists Program that is apart of the Houston Da Camera organization. Overall, I felt very good about my audition. I thought I played well (and for me to say that is something!), I thought the interview went well, and I walked out feeling very proud and good about the preceding events. Today, I found out I did not get into the program. Though a little bit disappointed, and a little bit not surprised (it’s very tough for the guitar to compete with more “traditional” classical instruments, and at the same time even more difficult with the competition is at such a high level with very limited space), the experience has not deterred me at all. As an artist, one must deal with rejection almost constantly, and every single artist I know has stories about it.

And those heartbreaks are a huge part of what it’s all about. It’s the only way to get those special experiences of performing, of being apart of projects. And when you land them, there is nothing like it. So there are essentially three options. 1. You learn your art for yourself as a hobby, and nothing more. 2. You give it a shot, and if it doesn’t work out, feel the rejection, and give up. 3. You give it a shot, and no matter what happens, use it as motivation to push you forward. The life of an artist is certainly not for everyone, and there is no shame in not wanting to go down that path. But for those who have the passion and love for what they do, for those that really CHOOSE and PURSUE it, there is a quote I would like to share. I’m not a big hockey fan, but my first guitar teacher Adam Flint is. He shared with me a quote from the great Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I think this statement is very pertinent to life in general. Unless you try, you never know what could be, and you know never know where it could lead you. But keep in mind, there is no winning formula, and unfortunately there’s really no guarantee it will work. So for all those who are just embarking on their journeys like I am, and for those that have already begun, keep your heads up high, and always push forward.