I’m Studying Sticking Pencils Up My Nose.

“Music is EASY”. Music is a SOFT course, you don’t have to WORK, you just sit around doing what you already enjoy and already spend time doing. You don’t know hard work until you try engineering or chemistry. This is what I hear all the time.

Go read about “The Picasso Principle”.

Do you want to attempt to do what I do? No I mean like, really — here, take my saxophone. Look, I’ve even supplied the ideal mouthpiece and reed to get the perfect jazz tone out of it. That’s already work done for you. That alone took years of trying out different reed types and thicknesses, different mouthpiece materials, different opening sizes, different barrel types. Not that you know what any of that means. But I digress. Now put it in your face and play. Oh, wait, you can’t? You don’t know how? You’ve never played the saxophone except maybe in elementary school music class? Maybe even high school, okay, well then you’re already a pro right there aren’t you. Oh wait, except you’re not.

Because it takes time. Oh lord, how much time it takes. My point is not “haha, you can’t play an instrument”. My point is that I had to start where you are and then take so, so much time and so, so much hard work to get where I am right now — able to play my saxophone competently. It is a professional who makes their art look easy, like it comes so naturally. Well, it DOES come naturally. After years. Decades. And we’re forever working. FOREVER working to improve, because we’re never as good as we could be. We can always get better.

You want to pay me shit all to play at your crappy little business venue? You want to tell me that music is easy, I don’t work hard doing a degree in music? Well obviously I don’t, I mean look at how good my marks are! It couldn’t possibly be that it’s taken years of hard work to become good enough for something to be easy.

If you spent as many hours a day, for as many years of your life, focusing on practising lots of exercises with mathematical equations and formulas as musicians spend practising their instruments, you would find university calculus just as easy and natural as musicians find playing music. If you spent as many hours a day, for as many years of your life, reading that biology textbook and memorizing those terms and how those proteins relate to that one, you would ace your bio exam as easily as musicians ace performances.

Don’t even tell me about how many bajillion hours you spent studying for that bio exam this year. I have played my saxophone for EIGHT YEARS. I practised for AT LEAST two hours every single day for four years. And that’s not as much as most people, the actually-dedicated musicians. You just feel like you do so much more studying because you’ve crammed it all into these past however-many-years of university, the first time you’ve really focused on the subject to the same extent that musicians focus on music throughout their lives.

I don’t practise as much as I used to, admittedly. So my number of hours spent practising my sax this year is probably around the same level of the hours you spent studying for those tests and exams or working on your calculus homework all year. But hey, guess what? I didn’t ace my music classes, and I didn’t find them easy as pie. We’re in the same boat when we spend the same amount of time on things. Why is that?

Music is HARD. That’s why.


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