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The Musical Identity

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably had multiple identity crisis by your mid-20s. And most of them have probably had to do with music.


One of the things I struggled with most in my pursuit of music (and still sometimes do) is the feeling that there’s a battle to tell me who I am. It felt like every person I talked to had a different opinion of my voice, of my potential, and of what my path should look like, and they were all warring to get me to believe their particular opinions. It was really difficult to know who to trust, and who to be vulnerable with.

Every single person in the history of music has a different definition of success. For some people I know, they won’t feel successful until they’ve performed at a certain opera house, or gotten a contract with a major orchestra. People seemed to like to brag about how much they had to sacrifice for the sake of their careers. In college, it quickly became normalized that if I wanted to be “successful”, I would have to make music my entire life. It would have to be everything to me. Quite literally everything in else in life would have to come second- relationships, academics, other interests, and, of course, religion. At the time, I felt I was very much still learning, growing, and figuring out who I was, and all of these seemingly conflicting ideas confused me.

It doesn’t take long living in this mindset to realize how unstable it is. If you make music your entire identity, then you’ve placed your self-worth in the hands of others, whether that is an audition panel, music critics, or your teachers. And, again, every one of those people will have different definitions of what they think your path should be, and what your success should look like. Your identity will change with every audition you walk into, every masterclass you take, and every day successes and failures. Truth be told, I could potentially see how that kind of identity could be motivating in the short term. If you placed your identity and self-worth so wholly in your music, it would certainly be a huge driving factor to do well in all things. But there is no stability or safety in that identity, and there’s also no truth in it.


One of the most beautiful things about our Faith is that we know with absolute certainty where our true identity lies. God tells us time and time again that we are made in His Image and Likeness, and that our dignity is therefore inherent. Our worth and our identity is not determined by what we do, nor is it measured by any standard of worldly success. You are not a musician first, you are a human being first- made after God’s own Heart.


Our deepest identity is rooted in Him.

Not only is this knowledge healthy for us in a mental, emotional, physical and spiritual level, but it is also healthy for our musicality too. By placing our identity at the foot of the Cross, we turn our talent, our work ethic, our passion, and our very selves over to the only One who can give us true success. After all, He created music. He ordered harmony. He gave us minds to understand it, ears to hear it, hearts to love it, and He kindly invites us to be musical co-creators and collaborators with Him. What He has destined for your career is ultimately all that matters. He won’t allow you to miss out on any opportunities that are supposed to be yours. He won’t allow you to be unsuccessful. You have nothing to fear in Him because He only desires your good.

All He asks is to be #1.

So my friends, I urge you today to contemplate where you’re putting your identity. Do all you can to ensure that God holds the first place in your heart, and He will guide you every step of the way!


Prayers for you all,

Tara

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