Today wasn’t my best day. I slept poorly last night and woke up exhausted. The motorcycle commute to Gurukul was wet and sloppy. I was happy to see my friends at Gurukul, but I didn’t sing very well for Ramakantji and I left the lesson feeling like I had stepped back several months.
I had to ask: why am I here? Why am I doing this? I already have a busy and successful life as a Western musician. The possibility of becoming a first-rate Dhrupad singer is pretty slim given how difficult this art form is. Yes, I have a good raw voice and natural aptitude for it, but can I really commit the time necessary?
Whoa, whoa, whoa. I’ve derailed again. This happens a few times a month, here in India and at home too. The reason? I’ve started focusing on the PRODUCT rather than the PROCESS. It’s easy to do as a professional musician. After all, I am in the business of selling my creative work to people. I can’t completely ignore the marketplace if I want to continue working.
But Dhrupad (or Western classical music, or any great classical music) is an endless ocean. One lifetime isn’t enough for even a 1/10th of this music. It’s so deep and so complex that the only way one can cope with the overwhelming difficulty of it is to simply give oneself up to it. Release the ego. Don’t worry about the product, just enjoy the process.
Once I remembered these feelings I felt that familiar glow come back. I felt a purpose, a higher calling. I was in a groove. I can’t wait to get up tomorrow and start practicing and composing again. I’m back in the game.