In my Steven Schick entry, I briefly mentioned a Facebook post by Michelle Chong that I wanted to blog about. It really is worth the read and doesn't only have to be aimed at Singaporeans, but really can be applied everywhere around the world by any profession.
This idea of having pride in your work kind of ties in with what I've been writing for the past few weeks - seeking better performances and results and always pushing limits. It's not exactly the same as what Michelle Chong has written, but I do agree with her. It is important to have pride in one's work. Pride gives you a sense of ownership, a sense of responsibility, a sense of worth, and importantly the sense of contribution. We feel important when all these come into play, and that importance should feed us to do more and go the extra distance.
Because it's a job hazard, I see it as making music with an orchestra, especially for us percussionists. Percussionists are faux-soloists in orchestras as there is usually only 1 person playing the instrument, whether it's a xylophone, tam-tam, bass drum, timpani or chimes. Although we double some instruments at times, you rarely find 2 (or more) people playing the exact same part! And because each part is unique to the music (similar with the brass and winds), there is a sense of contribution to the music as a whole. Strings are kind of different because they double up parts, but they add to the whole because they bring volume and depth to the sound, which is equally important for huge works like Mahler or Shostakovich. That ownership of contribution adds to self-worth and fuels itself, giving you pride as you take pride in your work.
But as with everything, it takes two hands to clap. If you read some of the comments made with her post, many say that their work goes unappreciated and going the extra mile only invites more work, usually without extra reward. Reciprocation from superiors is also needed for a healthy working relationship. It's the same as with any other relationship for that matter - the constant give-and-take of compromising and understanding. Of course, every workplace is different and without getting yourself fired, I feel it's about both parties coming together to create a healthy working relationship.
Still, taking pride in one's work is necessary, especially when it comes to job satisfaction. And for me, as a musician, that satisfaction comes from the audience - when they smile or applaud or appreciate the hard work and effort put into making the music good. These people not only pay money, but take their personal time to watch and listen to music for that night/day, and it should be our duty and responsibility to make their time and money's worth.
If we do the work for the work itself, like it is about the music and not about the musician, then I think we are one step closer to having that pride in us.
What do you think? Is this too idealistic? Let me know and I hope you guys remain safe and well this week.
P.S. Thank you to everyone who came down to my concert last week, and to those who supported me in spirit too! I am extremely grateful for all the support and love. I'll be writing something more personal about it.. just need to arrange my thoughts :) Entry drops next week!