The sun is setting on 2019, and I wanted to make a special post sharing some of the big things that happened here at Brave Musician over the last year and some of the lessons that Marina and I learned along the way. This was a big year for us, and I think it’s important to stop for a moment and reflect. And this is as good a time as any. (By the way, if you would like to hear Marina and I discuss this, feel free to jump over the to the podcast episode page and listen on your favorite platform.)
I started this whole process by asking myself late one night, “What did I learn this year?” This has been a tremendous year of growth for me, on a number of levels - personally, professionally, musically, artistically, and in regards to Brave Musician. It was fun to start writing, remembering events and conversations that had been tucked away in that back of my mind resurfacing as I thought about the year. Challenges, successes, meaningful conversations, failures that I learned from, unresolved thoughts, all of it started coming back to me. I smiled, I laughed, I cried, it was beautiful. I highly recommend doing this on your own, in a journal or on a piece of paper, just as a way to connect to what’s going on in your life. I asked Marina to do the same thing and we came together and shared our lists. It was really interesting how a number of things were the same for both of us. After that, we brainstormed for Brave Musician and what 2019 has meant for us as a company.
So, without further adieu, here’s the lists:
Brave Musician in 2019:
- Launched the podcast in May
- Launched the blog in December
- Launched a new format of intensive workshop - we look forward to doing more of these across the country in the coming year
- Made new friends and are continuing to build our community
- Together we navigated some challenging and difficult conversations, which have brought us closer and made us stronger
- Started working on a book - more about this soon!
Answers to the question “What did I learn this year?”
Monica and Marina:
- We need Community. We can’t do this music thing alone. We can’t do this life thing alone. This year that was reinforced more than ever. Also, you can’t build meaningful relationships with people without being vulnerable. The two of us got to have a lot of vulnerable moments over this year. Which leads us to #2.
- Conversations are so important. We were so fortunate to have some incredible conversations that got recorded for the podcast - interactions that made us think and have greatly impacted and quite literally changed our lives, that all started with “Can I interview you for the Brave Musician podcast?” Also, often it’s the most difficult conversations that you learn from the most, so don’t be afraid to have them.
- Let go of perfection. We embraced this idea from Seth Godin “Scrappy Not Crappy” this year. We didn’t do everything perfect this year, but we did do a lot of things well.
- Growth is non linear. It’s messy, it can feel unpredictable, and uncomfortable. And, sometimes you veer off the path and gain something greater.
- No one is going to know what you do unless you tell them. This was a big lesson that I learned this year on a number of levels - Brave Musician promotion, my career as a musician and as an artist, and as an educator. We have to open up and share - either in person, via social media, other outlets like the podcast, blog, or Youtube - if we want others to know what we are doing.
- Let go of previous expectations that no longer work. Part of being Brave for me this year was letting go of the expectations that I had previously set for myself (or that were set for me) that were no longer working and accepting myself and my unique path. Along those same lines, it’s ok to regroup, to do something different, to change course.
- Brave Musician is a practice, not a badge. That it’s not about being a “Brave Musician” like it’s a badge that you earn - it’s a process and a constant work in progress.
- More doing and less thinking about doing. For me, thinking about work is scary, until I start doing it, then it just gets hard. But for me, hard is easier to deal with than scary.
- Keep faith in the process, even when you’re not sure about the final outcome. Sometimes you have to get in the car and start driving even though you don’t know exactly what is going to happen next and have a little faith in the process. (I literally and metaphorically did that this year, more than once!) Bonus: “I don’t know” can be a beautiful statement.
- Re-framing challenges is essential. When I’m unhappy with a performance or practice, instead of considering it failure, I save it as a “before” video, so that when I get better, I can have something to compare it to as a measure of progress.
- Trust your instincts. We tried a lot of new things this year and experienced resistance from others, which made us question our instincts. But we stuck with our plan and saw how our ideas benefited our Brave Musician community and ourselves.
- Hold space for each other. I love the idea of holding space for others and creating an opportunity for them to shine. If you’re always talking (or soloing), others don’t have a chance to shine.
- There is always an opportunity to learn or be inspired by something or someone. Take chances and try new things.
- Take care of your body. It’s especially relevant for musicians. So much of the vision behind Brave Musician is personal improvement. We talk a lot about mental but we don’t talk about physical well-being. The more I play, the more I realize that.
Thank you all so much for being a part of Brave Musician and we’d love to hear what you learned in 2019 and what you look forward to in 2020.
If you want to hear Marina and I talk more in-depth about this, head over to the podcast episode page and listen on your favorite platform.