This year is a special one, indeed. Never before have I seen such a strange and varied year as this. This year was going to be about being true to myself and to the ideas I’m trying to put out in the world. The plan has just been altered a little, but I’m on the right track.
Yesterday, while on the train to conduct one of my wind orchestras, I reflected over how happy I am right now with my position in life. I am staying true to my self and my own mission. That always leads to a happy life. The things I thought would be a problem, things I were afraid of, are now completely gone. Here, I’ve used some practical methods to make problems manageable and reasonable more than abstract and scary.
Before Covid-19 hit Sweden, during the autumn of 2019, I felt that I needed to make a change. I needed to focus on my own mission and revise a plan that did not work for me. After all, very much of my focus and attention has shifted, also a lot of my goals, since my daughter was born.
When I was “younger”, my main drive was centered around the development of my career and just doing things I really felt like doing. Doing cool and fun stuff. It is still one of my goals, but there are some others added now. One of them is to be able to look straight into my daughters eyes and tell her to follow her own mission and be happy. To not settle. So, I needed to do something.
In January of 2020, I resigned from my position as a teacher, where I’ve been working for the past 10 years. Partially as a result of internal struggles of the organisation. Partially because the plan to fund my artistic visions through my teaching job interfered with my desire to tour, write and record more. Partially because working nights and other strange hours meant I would miss time with my family. Also, looking at my track record, I am more happy living on my own terms.
Then, Covid-19 hit Sweden, right after I signed my resignation papers. Scary times. Though I just got the position as a conductor where I’m at right now and more projects of other kinds were piling up, the prospects of any of them taking off were serverly hanging on a loose thread.. But, you know what? I am surrounded by ingenious people with more solutions than problems.
While the stages are practically closed, I am happy to be in a field that can have many solutions to its problems. Though all plans of performing on a stage – and make a living of it – is off the table for a moment, the work that means recording, arranging, rehearsing and conducting remains. This means that I’m in a favorable position when the crisis cools down. The work we do behind the scenes are going to be good things to have when we can tour again. The work preparing me for “off stage”-work makes me live through the crisis.
It needs to be said: this whole industry is in deep trauma. We are, sadly, going to lose a lot of specialists, when they can’t sustain themselves. People need to eat and people need to live. I know of no individual that loves art more than the ability to eat and live. Even though I am one of the lucky few that can make a living like this, I am mourning the deaths of life long careers and commitments. May you all find your way back, somehow.
Being off the stage for almost 9 months have me missing it a great deal. We have been doing some Covid-safe outdoor concerts with the orchestras, but it is not the same thing as with the guitar and an audience. The more time that passes from the lockdown to present time, the more I realise I am an entertainer and musician by heart. I still love to move people and make them laugh and cry. When the crisis is gone, I will play more. That is and has always been the goal.
I should mention that I am taking some time to further my education and my interests beyond music. For instance, right now I’m studying to become an AI/Machine-learning-specialist. That means that, if all else fails, I am able to put food on the table and roof over my family’s heads. That is my main responsibility. The studying is also of tactical matter. Right now, it is the tool for future financing of my further adventures in music. Never in my life will I ever again want to see a lawyer amatuer musician have a better instrument than me. The right tools in the right hands will make a difference.
Just watch me.