Communicating with Passion

Chione, the woodwind quintet in which I am 1/5 is performing at a high school tonight and following our performance three of us are presenting topics and the other two are coaching chamber ensembles. 

My topic is Communicating with Passion.  

As I decide what inspiring words to spew at these high schoolers, I wonder why this is such a foreign concept.  I was raised by two very passionate individuals.  They do not have jobs that would excite just anyone.  My mother is passionate about teeth and my father is passionate about taxes.  What?  My parents truly love what they do.  I have seen evidence of that day in and day out, throughout my entire life.  However, I've also seen people on the other end of the spectrum, hating every minute of every day because they lack passion.  I have personally struggled to understand those individuals and why they continue to live in a life that they do not love.  During a conversation with my significant other I came to the realization that many people don't know how to have passion.  Not everyone was raised with parents like mine.  

People often see work as the necessary thing to do to 'have a life'.  Those individuals who work a dead end 9-5 job believe that is what you do.  You do this to provide for yourself and your family.  

So my question to you is, what is passion? 

The dictionary definition is:

pas·sion  paSHən/ noun

1. strong and barely controllable emotion.

What are you passionate about?  I am passionate about music.  I love to play music.  For awhile, I lived that life that so many live.  I worked at Bed Bath and Beyond, then I sold phones, then I managed a cell phone store, then I sold phones again and worked at a clothing store.  Selling is fun.  I'm good at selling.  I have made a lot of money selling things.  I am not passionate about sales.  For so long I was told by society, peers, teachers, you must do XYZ to be a musician.  I was already a very good musician, although I had taken a few year off from playing the oboe due to unfortunate circumstances, I still knew how to play the oboe and I was not too bad at it.  I knew it's what I wanted and even needed to do with my life in some capacity, so I decided to go back to school (that's what you're suppose to do, right?) for music.  However, taking some time off put me behind the current pool of applicants and I was told by a number of schools and professors that I wasn't good enough.  I decided to complete a degree in Communication Studies, as I had already taken a number of Communication courses previously.  I completed my degree and was working in Marketing, but that's not what I was passionate about.  It was a fun job with great people, but it just didn't do it for me.  I needed music in my life.  By this time I had started playing more frequently and began teaching at a local music store.  At this point I had zero credentials to teach the oboe.  All I had was my personality and my passion for music and the oboe.  I began connecting with local band directors and I was beginning to get calls to play with local ensembles.  In 2013 I started my own business, Chromatic Fusion.  I had a handful of students and a lot of passion.  The studio continued to grow despite my lack of music education.  I began studying the oboe with a phenomenal teacher and spoke to him about getting a Master's Degree in Music Performance.  He said I should go ahead and audition.  The administration at the college however, would not allow me to audition because my Bachelor's Degree was not in music.  I decided to go ahead and get my 2nd major and just deal with it.  Shortly after beginning classes, I started a woodwind quintet.  I wanted to choose musicians who were currently above my level of playing.  I enjoy a challenge and wanted to do my best to rise to the occasion.  For the first few months of performing I was a bit overwhelmed and second guessed myself often.  I felt inadequate, but continued moving forward.  I worked my butt off and a year later, I am absolutely on par with where my colleagues are.  The other musicians in my ensemble have degrees from fabulous conservatories, most of them have Master's in Music and one has a Doctorate in Music.  I still haven't even completed my undergraduate degree in music and I am playing at the level of some very great musicians.  All of this goes back to passion.  Passion has the ability to propel you much farther forward than anything else.  When you are passionate about what you do it is impossible not to succeed. 

Who would like to be happy every day of their lives, doing something that they enjoy?  This path may not be the easiest one, but it is by far the most rewarding.