Or the more grammatically appropriate “Music Shit For Which I Am Too Old.”
You know, a beautiful thing happens once you surpass college. You gain a sense of command over your own time. You attract friends that are actually worth your time. You hang out with people that are older, wiser, and from all walks of life. You start to believe in the old adage “you get what you pay for,” and are overly-vocal when you realize the price of tampons has tripled in ten years and you are seriously considering free-bleeding like this marathon runner gal did. Then you read posts like this and think to yourself she might be onto something (sorry, guys, but this is fairly important).
I recently made myself do a serious (and I mean serious) closet purge. I downsized, streamlined, and went so far as to log all my clothes and accessories into an app (and there is an app for that) in an effort to adult more, a verb I’ve run across a lot lately on websites that waste my time. Like any torturous self-reinvention tactic, I learned a lot about myself, and found the process to be strangely creative. I ended up getting rid of a lot of stuff I keep around for no clear reason, and found a sort of weird, demonic satisfaction in throwing out jeans I’ve owned since high school that still fit somewhat, but would fit even better if my hips would just rewind eleven years.
I think clothes are a fantastic metaphor for the self. We wear what we are. We keep what we think we are, just in case we ever are that person. I had these awesome shoes that were cosmetically divine. They looked like they fit, but they hurt like hell. I went ahead and threw them out because no one should have to suffer to be who you are. The blisters aren’t worth it.
Then a good friend of mine posted this article about shit we’re too old for, which I found entirely appropriate. I could add a few things to that list, like sheets that aren’t at least 500 thread count, or splitting checks, or fake flowers. I’m only pushing 30, but I think I’ve gotten a general handle on a basic life principle that takes a lot of people a long time to discover. Even as I try to write what that is, I can’t articulate it. I do know that I just don’t want to waste my time. Ever. In any situation. I have the exact same amount of time as every single person in this world (despite what “really busy” people tell me), so why would I want to waste it on mediocre conversation and shitty coffee?
To bring it home, here is some shit I’m too old for, as it pertains to my musical life:
- Poor return policies at music stores
- Scores that aren’t digital
- MP3s I can’t instantly download
- Apologizing for my teaching outfits
- Learning yet another notation software program
- Dramatically different and overly-complicated online assessment tools (like D2L)
- Staff meetings / rehearsals that take more than 90 minutes
- Top 40 radio hits without any semblance of substance or depth
- Music teachers who don’t value all music, even poorly-written top-40 radio hits
- Staff meetings / rehearsals that don’t provide food or coffee
- Waiting longer than 10 business days for items I purchase online (I could have just gone there myself and written off a small vacation)
- Bad musicals (and not the good kind of bad)
- Cheap instruments
- Releasing new editions of expensive textbooks in less than 5 years
- Last-minute lesson cancelations
- Invalid excuses for last-minute lessons cancelations
- Late payments
- Excuses for late payments (notice I did not include the word “invalid,” because they are all invalid)
- E-mails from people wanting to know how much I charge for lessons (it’s all on my website)
- People who don’t “do” e-mail or websites
- Negotiating a “salary” that you know is available, but for which you have to jump through multiple hoops / perform a pagan ritual to get
- Breaking in the spines of my music books
- The phrase “I’m feeling under the weather today.” Just stay home. I do.
- Pretending to know what I’m talking about. Never again.
- Having relative pitch and not perfect pitch
- Having health institutions assume that because I’m self-employed / on obamacare that I can’t pay for my doctor’s visits
- Taking on students for less than 16 weeks.
- Being asked to play or sing for free in exchange for “exposure.” Expose this, pal.
- Adjunct teaching
- Saying to students “it’s all in the syllabus.”
- Keeping up with the latest 24/26/28 Italian Songs and Arias
- Accompaniment tracks that can’t be accessed online
- Working without a contract
- Poorly designed assessment in higher education (or, hell…all of education)
- 15 American Art Songs
- Rehearsals that go late
- Poor conducting or general directing
- A general disregard for growth or improvement
- Taking jobs I don’t want
- Taking jobs that really won’t help me in any way in the long run
- Generally caring about what people think of me
- Not getting fringe benefits (like comp tickets or wine) for poorly-paid but fun “pleasure” projects
- Worrying whether or not I’m good enough
- Caring about playing or singing wrong notes
- Not enjoying every minute of what I do, most of the time.
So there you have it. What are you too old for?