From the transcript of the January 15th, 2012 On Being episode in which Krista Tippett interviewed singer/songwriter/author Roseanne Cash.
Ms. Cash: Sure. You know when I first became a performer, I was so anxious about it and it took me a long time to grow into it, because I thought that being a performer was about getting a lot of attention and I didn't want that much attention. I liked the writer's life. I liked the privacy and the solitude and being inside my own little mind cave. And over time I realized that it's not about the attention, it's about the energy exchange. I'm doing something for them, but they're doing something for me too, you know? And there's no hierarchy really. It's — and some nights that exchange is so beautiful, you know, I can feel my own energy stretching out to the far reaches of the room and theirs coming back. And there's something sublime about it, and also the temporal nature of it that at the end of the night it's over.
Ms. Tippett: Right.
Ms. Cash: It's like a monk's sand painting, it's wiped clean. And so you can't grab it, you know, which is part of the — the mystical beauty of it. You can't repeat it. You know, the next night might be just awful, like, your energy might not expand beyond two feet beyond you and they are not giving you anything and it doesn't work, but you know, that's the way life is.
Ms. Tippett: Yeah, it's that spiritual discipline of knowing impermanence.
Ms. Cash: Knowing impermanence and showing up even though you don't know what's going to happen.
I love that!Aside from the fact that it was just...overall, a beautiful conversation about creativity and music and spirituality and how it all melds together, this particular snippet just captured my attention instantly.
Isn't that gorgeous?
"...showing up even though you don't know what's going to happen."
Isn't that gorgeous?
Here's what I loved about it:
First, it is so absolutely descriptive of my daily experience as a more or less psychodynamically-oriented, relationally-focused music therapist. I am not (really, I am NOT), by nature, what one would call a "flexible" human being. However, many years of practicing music therapy using this approach (and taking part in my own therapy, of course) has gotten me to a point where "showing up even though you don't know what's going to happen" has become okay. It's a concept I've grown into and have come to embrace with a comfortableness I would never have imagined for myself.
Second, I was drawn in by Roseanne Cash's sharing of her struggle, as a musician and as a writer (basically, as an artist), to come to terms with her art- playing, performing, being musically present, which artistic voice to choose, and what all of that means to her.
Periodically, people will ask me, "Does one have to be a good musician to be a music therapist?" And, until very recently, I've always responded with what my clinical supervisor has said to me, which is: "Well, the more accomplished you are as a musician, the more you have to offer your clients." And that still makes sense to me.
But, in a recent email conversation with my colleague, Brian Abrams (who just had a terrific article published in the Arts in Psychotherapy journal), I realized that not only do we, as music therapists, benefit greatly from this type of engagement with our experience as artists and musical beings, but, on some level, maybe because of our chosen professions, we actually need to go through that kind of a struggle.
Put another way, I think a willingness to come to terms with our own sense of what it means to be a musical self and building an identity as musicians and artists enables us to be present to our clients in a more profound, authentic, and meaningful way.
You might even say it prepares us to "...show up even though [we] don't know what's going to happen."