Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dear 1999

This is in response to the public blogging event that is doing: "If you could go back to 1999 and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?"

I'm hesitant to write this, because I feel every moment in our lives is important & we each follow our own path in getting to wherever we were today (and wherever we're going). Changing one event or one path really changes everything in so many ways that we couldn't begin to conceive ... In general, I'm very happy with where I've wound up in life & what I've made out of it ... I really value the choices I've made - even the mistakes!

So, anyway, in 1999, I was 12 and about to enter the 9th grade (or in 8th grade, depending on what point in the year). Here's the advice I would give myself

Dear Mike in 1999,

There is an instrument you've never heard of and don't know anything about, called the cello. Along with discovering heavy metal music, the cello will be the single biggest defining factor of your life. You have the potential to become an amazing cellist & a successful professional musician, though you will have a lot of work ahead of you and not a lot of time to accomplish it. You are already behind a lot of people who are on the same track as you, but if you put the time into it, you have the power to catch up & maybe even one day (in the far off future) to pass some of them. The cello is going to become the closest thing to you in your life & you are going to find new things to do with it that very few have done before. But you can only do this if you become really amazing ... don't get distracted & learn from everyone around you and from all the different music you can take in.

So drop the trumpet and go ask the orchestra teacher if you can play cello (you'll even get to use one over the summer) & become an amazing musician...

Good luck!


Now I suppose that at 12, this may not have been the advice I needed & maybe I wouldn't have loved the cello so much if I had started it then ... I had a lot of family problems & went through some pretty bad depression for the next year or two & failed classes in high school & stuff of that sort ... but as I said, these all helped me form into the person I was today ... 12 was a very special year for me ... it was the year I discovered heavy metal for the first time and the year I became an atheist... it had a lot of other things in it too, many of them not so positive... Discovering heavy metal music was probably the most influential thing in my life because of the musical sophistication, energy & intellectual depth that I found in that tradition & because of the world it opened up for me & the values I formed based on it...

I also suppose that advice like "do well in high school so you can go to any college you want to go to" & "don't cut gym in high school, because it will cause you to form some terrible academic habits" might be more practical ... but I would have missed out on quite a bit of life experience

For those who don't already know my history ... I started cello at the age of 16 and became completely obsessed with it & went on to study music in college & now am in the process of trying to do it professionally. I also compose & improvise & make videos/recordings & play through FX Pedals/amp & blog as well...

So that's my piece I suppose ...

Edit: if you go here: you can read everyone else's responses ... they're quite fascinating!

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