I recently finished rewatching the television series Parks and Recreation. In the final episode, Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) gives a commencement speech to the graduating class at Indiana University. During her speech she uses a quote from Theodore Roosevelt that really caught my attention:
“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
Having the chance to work hard at work worth doing feels like the perfect description of what we get to do as musicians. We spend hour after hour, day after day, year after year working hard on our craft: honing our chops and our ears, deepening our understanding, learning how to create our own music that blends our influences and experiences, and how to play and connect with others.
It’s a lot of work. More specifically, it’s a lot of hard work. But to those like us, it is hard work that is worth doing. Having the opportunity to show up every day to engage with, and be challenged by, music is far and away the best prize that life could have offered up to us.