Monday, June 05, 2006

Graduation! Now what?

Four years of school are over, just like that! Congratulations! You can't believe you finished the whole thing! Four years of the treadmill on high speed, and suddenly somebody pulls the plug. You know it is the finish line, but still it comes as a shock. At first you feel relief, and then probably a dozen other emotions race through your soul non-stop. I won't try to articulate them. You know what they are for you. I remember that mine went from celebrate to cry and everything in between many times over. At first were the up times, parties, etc. But then the seriousness of the next chapter began quickly to settle in. No sooner had the school door slammed shut almost in my face, and immediately the next reality approached. And reality usually comes in the fast lane. So now what?

Even for the most on-fire of you grads, I would suggest taking some serious time off the horn! You won't lose your purpose. In fact, you probably will come back even stronger, more determined, and focused than you are just now. Put the trumpet in it's nice little case that it has, and take a vacation. The extent of the musical responsibilities you have looming will determine the length of your visit elsewhere. But for now, go elsewhere senza tromba and relax. You've earned it. Congratulations!

Note #1: My dad told me after graduation from high school, "Phil, have a good time, but don't forget where you're going." In other words, don't be stupid. Keep your purpose in mind. That advice still keeps me out of a lot of trouble.

Note #2: Whatever those emotions are that are surfacing after the enormous pressures you've whethered, don't stuff them. Take this time to reflect, be grateful for how far you've come, express thankfulness where needed, have a good cry, and then be happy. You are going to have a career doing what you have always loved! Keep it that way. It's hard to be a grumpy musician and have your colleagues and your audience like your work. It is possible I suppose, but it is not easy that way.

I have a bunch of ideas for when you return to your trumpet case. But that's for another day. For now, go. I said GO! And congratulations!!!

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