Stay Confused

I took my last $28 down to Eugene, OR this weekend for the insane Praxis II test, and you know something? It was fun. I mean the test was a bit tedious, but it was fun to be tested about music. The usual music nerd stereotypes were there. Big bottomed vocalist girl? Check. "Jazz cat" in narrow glasses with pony tail, squeaky voice, and pasty skin? Check. Sad looking churchgoing mother of ten with the frosty hair? Check. Old lady with the self-depricating comments? Check. Deformed guy with the crewcut, mandals and the pink face who plays tuba (invariably)? Check. Indie pop kid? Check. It was like a really square Breakfast Club.

But what fun to be tested about things in which I really have a vested interest. I liked listening to a random musical examples and having to guess who wrote them and during what historical period. I really wanted to know the answers. I considered it my duty as a person to know the answers. That's never happened to me before. When I was in the dark on a question, like the one where we had to guess the "mode" of a particularly difficult recorded example, my first thought was, "alright, you're going to have to go home and do some ear training!", not "when am I EVER going to have to use THIS?!" Do you know what I mean? I felt like I was being tested on my skills and qualifications as a human being, not like I was just taking a test for a passing grade, or to get an A so I could graduate. I spent a month with the Grout studying, not because I wanted to get the test over with, or pass it so I could get a good score so I could move on to the next step, but because I WANTED to know all that great stuff! I wanted to be able to hear what mode it was. I wanted to know what the best seating configuration was in an orchestra so that the trombones could hear the other players. I really wanted to be able to write about the style and probable composer of a piece by looking at a page of the score. When a recorded excerpt came on, and I could actually pick out the wrong pitch in the texture, or hear that the violin had played a wrong articulation, I quickly filled in the little black bubble with pride. But when I hadn't heard of Ellen Taft Zwillich, or couldn't figure out the best action to take when two high schoolers act up in choir class, I could feel my heart sink.

And so on the drive home, having spent my last $5 on gas, it occured to me: It's quite a great feeling knowing exactly what you want in life. But the sad part is not getting it. The sad part is reaching the point where you have to exhaust the remainder of your energy on your plan "B". That's the tradgedy. I'll tell you, I envy all of you people out there who don't know what you're doing with yourselves. At least in some way you're where you want to be. Those of us who've identified our passions, who've worked hard, who've spent ages trying to make our dreams happen, made the sacrifices, shaken the hands, kissed the asses, and who subsequently have to live with our dreams virtually unfulfilled, we're the ones who have it hard. My advice is to never figure it out. Not getting to do what you want with your life, no matter how hard you work, is worse than anything. Being unsuccessful is the most tragic thing in the world. There's nothing worse than to try and fail. Better to not even try. Mark my words. Stay confused. You'll be much better off.