It is said that overnight success is the result of many years of hard work. I am currently reading Me by Elton John and am impressed by his willingness early in his career, actually before his career, to work at the lowest levels of the music field, even packing music in a warehouse. Although in each situation the time came when he knew he had to move on, he took with him knowledge and relationships from each experience. He also took advantage of serendipitous opportunities such as teaming with the lyricist Bernie Taupin.
I am petitioning the powers that be to return in the next life as a backup singer and/or music orchestrator. In my younger years I never gave thought that these careers existed. That I have neither the talent nor the drive to succeed at them in this life may have been a factor. I have gotten some satisfaction in the latter field by arranging music for groups at church and family and improvising on the piano, organ, and flute. There’s a file drawer of arrangements by Mary Cornelius just waiting to be discovered by future generations.
During this pandemic I am finding myself with opportunity once again as I work to learn technology to create music for virtual worship. I am also having fun working with a friend on her own music, adding effects to her beautiful voice and guitar.
When the creative dam opens the ideas flow, often pulling in many directions. Learning the technology is only a first step and can be frustrating with ideas piling up in the mind. Using the technology to develop the ideas is the next challenge. When in creative flow, I awaken at night with ideas, restless to move on them, not sure where to begin. And the creation is never finished: there are always details to perfect. How does anyone ever complete writing a novel or composing a symphony? Deadlines are a good thing.
I had retired from church music but took the opportunity to dive back in to help out during the transition to new staff. When the pandemic hit, my role changed once again, and I took advantage of the opportunity to be not an overnight successful orchestrator, but successful enough to satisfy my craving in this life. And when this passes, the skills I have learned will open up new opportunities.