What Being a Musician Has Taught Me

I’ve been a singer since—well since I could speak really—and despite the fact that I grew up with a natural ability to sing well, I believe that everyone should pursue music.

And when I say “pursue music” that doesn’t necessarily mean you should drop everything and attempt to make it big, unless that really is your goal (mad props and supportive vibes to you if that’s the case).

“Pursuing music” is a spectrum, ranging from full-time, recording/touring musician to chick who made an impromptu decision two years ago to buy a ukulele because they make pretty sounds (guilty). For me, music is more than a hobby, but not a career by any stretch of the imagination.

I’m sure you’ve heard the tried-and-true “music is a form of expression.” Sure, it’s a bit cliché, but I challenge you to delve deeper.

I personally sing and write music to organize my thoughts. Coming home after a long day, picking up my ukulele is my form of decompressing. Instead of logging my day in a journal, I convert all of the emotions I’ve felt throughout the day into song.

Music has taught me to redirect any negativity I’ve absorbed throughout the day into a chance to dissect my temporary emotions.

You know those moments when you’re shaking with rage or trembling and trying to fight back feelings of anxiety, depression, sadness, etc. because of something negative that happened in your day? In these moments, you might react differently than you would if you were of sound mind and body. These emotions are what I call temporary emotions.

Have you ever said something in the heat of the moment that you didn’t mean? Posted a passive-aggressive (or blunt) status on Facebook in an attempt to vent? Or perhaps taken out your frustrations on yourself in some way?

It’s okay to say yes; I know I have.

If you’re able to relate to any of these descriptions, you react to negativity emotionally, as opposed to responding logically which—for the record—is totally okay.

For the longest time, I thought I had to change who I was, and how I handle stress, by down-playing my emotions. Maybe if I just “chose” to be happy (as I see so many motivational images and influential figures say) and pushed away my depression, my sadness, my anxiety, and so forth, then I would be better off.

I started to feel even worse. I was denying my problems and the negative emotions created by them, and what’s worse, I felt like I was lying to my true self.

It wasn’t until I picked up the ukulele that I learned how to redirect my emotions and frustrations into something new, something wonderful.

It was easy to be explosive, to criticize myself or push people away. But it was also toxic.

Pursuing the ukulele was challenging, and forcing myself to work through my thoughts by creating music was liberating.

Pursuing music allows me to better understand myself and prevents me from acting upon those pesky, human, nagging, temporary emotions.

So I urge you to “pursue music,” to any extent.

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