about musicianship and the concept of not being good enough

October 23, 2017

Backstory: I play the oboe. If you are familiar with the instrument, then I’m pretty sure you feel my feelings on a visceral level already. If you don’t, then just trust me when I say that all the jokes about oboists being neurotic are very accurate. So this oboe thing: I play it in a community-based orchestra that performs video game music. Nerdy As Fuck.

For the longest time, I’ve struggled (and continue to struggle) with the concept of not being good enough. Whether it be regarding musicianship, intelligence, social skills, or writing—these have always felt completely eclipsed by the contributions of the people surrounding me. In part it’s because I know a LOT of crazy-talented and amazing people and I interact with them on a daily basis.

This is especially because a huge part of my life (whether I like it or not), is encompassed by the video game music community. And as many of you know, there are a lot of brilliant musicians and people working in the industry. I’m just an enthusiast, but even so I find it difficult to live up to my own expectations for what I should be contributing to the community.

And let’s face it, it’s often be hard to live up to your own expectations, let alone your own assumption of what others expect of you. Over the past several years I have always felt like nothing I did would ever be enough. That my efforts in the world don’t really matter to anyone, that they don’t make the world a better place. It can be really depressing and largely demotivating. I get into ruts about this on a regular basis.

But when I’m able to pull myself out of those ruts, I finally ask myself: so what? I may not be running huge events or playing concerts in front of massive crowds, but I enjoy the stuff I enjoy and that matters to me. It matters to me that friends come to my performances and get excited about them, and it matters to me that I work with an amazing group of people to put on a fun show for like-minded nerds. It ESPECIALLY matters to me that kids come and get to experience music in a new and engaging way. Heck, if this orchestra existed when I was a kid, I might have actually loved band in elementary and middle school.

All this to basically say: I have value. You have value. Do what you enjoy and don’t compare yourself to other people. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t surround yourself with talent—instead of tearing others down, let them motivate you to be a better version of yourself.

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