Today, as we in the United States celebrate the founding of our country, we will remind ourselves of the freedom we enjoy, freedom that is the very core of our national heritage and our American attitude. We recall the famous words from our Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
We musicians, no matter where our home, should take those words to heart. After all, what is the pursuit of music, if not the pursuit of happiness?
We choose to pursue music (or more often, music chooses us) because of the way it makes us feel: our feet move, our eyes sparkle, our hearts sing. Without that intense, visceral connection to music, the hard work involved in practice and performance could easily overwhelm us.
Undeniably, the pursuit of music is difficult, requiring long hours, solitary work, self-discipline and patience. And the tasks are at times daunting, for beginners, professionals and every musician in between. The trick to getting through the hard times is to remember that our pursuit of music truly is our pursuit of happiness.
In the spirit of our national celebrations, I have created a short list of musical freedoms, ways in which music feeds our souls, frees us from the everyday, and leads us to the happiness we seek. Which of these freedoms do you need to remember today?
1. Music frees us from self-doubt and allows us the freedom of inspiration.
2. Music frees us from negativity and allows us the freedom of productive energy.
3. Music frees us from frustration and allows us the freedom of discovery and invention.
4. Music frees us from unthinking conformity and allows us the freedom of creative self-expression.
5. Music frees us from the boring and allows us the freedom of endless color and variety.
No matter where you live, you can join in our American celebration today. All you need is a hamburger, a sparkler and a belief in the power of music in your life.
Happy Fourth of July!