Music & Long Term Relationships

The reality of long term relationships

When you start playing an instrument, voice, piano, guitar, really any instrument, you are hopefully entering into and going to maintain a long-term relationship with your instrument. My goal as a coach is to maximize the likelihood of students acquiring and retaining music as a lifelong companion. I support them in their love for singing and assist them in finding freedom in their voice.

However, I think it’s really important to be clear in communicating the nature of Long Term Relationships.


The Nature of Long Term Relationships

Every long term relationship is relatively simple to understand because it only has six components which fall into two categories. One is the category of quality and the other is the category of quantity.

Quality: In the category of quality there are three components –peaks, plateaus, and valleys – peaks being the ‘good’ or the ‘easier’ times, plateaus being the ‘just ok’ times, and valleys being the ‘not so good’ or ‘harder’ times.

Quantity: In the category of quantity there are also three components: brief periods of time, sustained periods of time or prolonged periods of time.

That’s basically the categories of every long term relationship. All long-term relationships can be any combination of those six components. There will always be one quality component and one quantity component at any point in time.

It’s like looking at a graph of the stock market over a long period of time. There will be ups and downs and plateaus.

Being aware of this when you begin your journey is crucial. Why? Because no matter how great things are going, there will come a time when you feel like you’re not moving as quickly as you used to, or you’re not having as much fun and this can be for a short, sustained or longer period of time. But guess what, this period will pass too.

We fall into the illusion that things will be all fun and easy all the time. But the truth is, whatever the experience, it will be a temporary experience. Temporary doesn’t mean brief, it just means that it will change.


A typical scenario

The student begins having lessons, he/she starts singing, he/she is loving it, and he/she is noticing progress. And then, as is the case will all long-term relationships, without exception, it becomes more difficult or it’s not as much fun or it’s a little harder or whatever the case may be. What ends up happening when the nature of longterm relationships isn’t communicated, is that the student thinks ‘Something must be wrong.’

While in actual fact, something is tremendously right! That’s exactly what’s supposed to happen in long-term relationships! These phases in which you are challenged in a way you’ve never felt before actually make you grow and develop as an artist and person. It will propell you to the next level and if you stick with it, it will happen over and over again.

Be very clear about this. During the more challenging times, when it looks like something is ‘wrong’ there is nothing ‘wrong’. The challenges are what is supposed to happen in long-term relationships. They’re designed to be good and then not good. They’re designed to be wonderful and then not so wonderful. And experiencing that is how we learn to navigate our way through them, because long-term relationships never end when things are great.

If you are committed to yourself and want to make music your lifelong companion, it takes for you to go through all of these phases, the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ ones, with a constant and certain reminder that whatever phase you are in ‘this, too, will pass’.

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