“Be More Confident at Your Next Audition by Going on a Facebook Diet” is the title of a recent post over at The Bulletproof Musician. While none of us may be auditioning for first oboe with the symphony, there is a point here. It’s all about the disabling effect of external comparisons.
It’s wonderful to see how well everyone else’s choir is doing or that a new organ has been installed. We do rejoice at the progress being made in developing children’s choirs and scholas.
And then we look at our own circumstances. And sometimes they’re just not that great. The only tenor who could count and hold his part has a job transfer across the country. You don’t even have an old organ and the pastor’s burning desire is for a new Steinway grand. The choir that comes to rehearsal on Wednesday evening forgets to show up for the 11 a.m. Mass on Sunday.
What’s a suffering church musician to do? Well, the Facebook Diet could be a start. Comparisons can be invidious. Then do a little reality checking. While your current situation may not be great, has it improved? Are your choir, equipment, or personal setbacks just temporary blips in the landscape? Maybe you need a new strategy, but one that’s actually possible – not wishing that you were the titular organist of a large church in Paris or suddenly called to remedy the problems of the Sistine Chapel choir.
Then give yourself a break. And remember we’re all working on a bigger project than ourselves.
Lastly, here’s a little video from the Trappistine monastery of Valserena, Italy. Five nuns from this monastery now live in a foundation in Aleppo, Syria. Our troubles seem small indeed.