Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Reclaiming the Joyful Spirit in Life

I have always loved music, and have been a musician since I was a young girl. I began playing the piano at age 7, and later added voice, clarinet, and handbells to my repertoire. Music has always brought me joy when I was feeling sad, or calmed me down when I was upset. (My family can attest that I have been known to literally “pound out my frustrations” on the piano.)After completing 7th grade, I attended a music camp at a small college a few hours from where I grew up. There I had the opportunity to take a private piano lesson from the dean of the music college. I played for him a piece that I felt I had mastered, and he proceeded to point out all of my shortcomings in a way that put my fragile 13-year-old ego through the shredder. Then he told me that if I really wanted to “do” the piece, I would have to give up the other music activities that I enjoyed (accompanying the junior high chorus, playing at church, etc.) and focus completely on practicing that piece. After the lesson, I felt incompetent and utterly dejected.As high school graduation approached, I began considering a career in music. While I knew that my musical ability had improved, that horrible music camp experience was still in my mind, and I still felt that my best efforts it would always be inadequate. There would always be someone like that music professor jumping on my every mistake, and music would become a source of stress rather than an outlet. In addition, the Midwestern work ethic with which I was raised conveyed the message that your job was just a job, and you weren’t meant to enjoy it.So, I pursued my other talents, mathematics and business, and became an actuary, working for 2 different insurance companies for a total of 16 years. I endured the stress of studying for and passing a series of extremely difficult exams, working 50+ hour weeks with no end in sight, juggling career and family, and always feeling like I wasn’t doing enough. There was very little about my career that I could call fun, and I know I wasn’t much fun to be around. What was fun was making music, as I became a church and community musician and began teaching music to children.In late 2005, I left my executive-level job to take some time off and figure out “what I want to be when I grow up.” What I figured out is that life is too short to not enjoy what you do, and what I enjoy is music. In the fall of 2006, I began teaching music at local preschools and became licensed to teach Kindermusik. Shortly after that, I formed my business and chose the word brioso, which means “with vigor and spirit.” In 2007, I began teaching Kindermusik classes and private piano lessons. And I have discovered that singing and laughing with children nearly every day is a wonderful boost to the spirit. It is my hope that all of you reading this are fortunate enough to spend your lives doing work that feeds your spirit as well.

-by Kindermusik educator Julie Bosworth. Julie owns and runs Julie's Music Brioso, a Kindermusik program in Olathe, KS.