The art of living
Updated: Oct 23
If living is an art, and being a musician is an art by itself, a musician should know a lot about living. Of course there are remarkable exceptions, but, and this is deeply true, there are a lot of characteristics that most musicians have and are extremely useful for the art of living.
First, the art of understanding life. From a point of view near to existentialism, music is not a different language (as Portuguese, Spanish, English, Chinese or Russian) but a different kind of communication. We are not dealing with words, but sound by itself, in a pure form. Meaning, sense, significance and connotation are completely different. The abstraction skills tend to be deeply developed. Why is this important? Because this characteristic that music has, help us to develop our perception, we can “see” things differently, in a complementary, additional way. It is easy for us not just being able to see facts or actions, but categories, concepts, ideas, ontology, aesthetics, etc.
Second: the art of dealing with failure. We are used to hear “no” more than we would like, but that ungrateful-short-term situation builds a strong, positive attitude towards life. Life is about learning to deal with failure; in fact, success can be defined as the natural result of past failures. You never really fail until you stop trying. This builds character and makes us more mature (which we tend to balance by being immature in many other ways).
Third, the art of listening to the inner self. This is specially true for composers: when we learn to listen to our internal music, we are also learning to listen to our inner voice, the sage within the artist, the wise that sleeps in our collective memory. Although many times this can be read as an ‘autistic behavior’, because we tend to live to the inside as much as we live to the outside world, the truth is that the inner self is a light, a guide that tells us, almost silently, little secrets that help us to deal with life in a better way.
Fourth, the art of following our own road. This is true for all artists: there is no such thing as a marked path in the life of artists. Every one of us, just try to follow our own path, making many mistakes and few good choices, but, overall, learning, growing and enjoying the simple things of life. This is true from the hardcore ‘Love, Sex and Rock ‘n Roll’, to the spiritual ‘Ode to Joy’. Simple things that makes us happy, fuller, richer. When you follow your own road, you learn so much more because you have the privilege of making your own mistakes, not someone else’s.
Finally, the art of living the life at the fullest. This has as an undeniable danger, (the list of ‘too young to die’ artists is just too long, and keeps growing) but in that extreme style of living we love, enjoy and suffer more, we live more; and if our artistic skills are good, we may live forever.