Sometimes, I forget that the work I do depends on people wanting me to do that work. That if they decide I’m not experienced enough, or not old enough, or not good enough, they’ll tell me to stop, and I have to, because I’m a contractor and not an employee and contractors don’t get notice.
Sometimes this happens with almost no notice. A student decides the morning of their lesson that they no longer want to continue playing music and all you get is a text message. You get a phone call, and suddenly you’re not teaching that ensemble anymore. Or a surprise meeting, and you lose half your hours.
It especially sucks because it often blindsides you.
This one blindsided me.
I had a meeting this morning. I had no idea what the meeting was about, and as I’m an otherthinker I’d thought of nearly everything that it could possibly be, but it didn’t even occur to me to that someone had decided that I wasn’t enough as a teacher, that someone else would be better, and they didn’t need me anymore.
It didn’t occur to me at all.
Do you know why? It’s because I’m a good teacher. I’m not boasting, or trying to prove anything. I’ve been told by many different people, and especially by students, that I’m a good teacher and that they enjoy having their lessons with me. As a result, I’ve never had anyone, student, parent or boss, tell me that they didn’t want me to come back.
I went home, scared, because I have to pay my rent somehow and I needed to do calculations to make sure I would still be able to. I went home, and called my mother because I needed someone to talk to and I live alone in this town ten hours from where I grew up. I went home, and did a few more calculations to make sure I’m going to survive the school holidays, when I won’t be working and earning an income.
That last one I’m still not sure of.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not particularly good with rejection about my music. I can deal with rejection in just about every part of my life except for music, this part of my life, my work, my hobby and my passion. I’ve dealt with it before, of course, in competitions and auditions, it’s part of life as a musician. But there’s something especially hurtful about being told that they don’t want you to keep doing what you have been doing because they don’t think you’re good enough.
And that’s what it boils down to. Someone doesn’t think I’m good enough, and that really hurts.
I think I need to stop there. This blog isn’t as anonymous as I’d sometimes like it to be, and while I have much more I could say it should remain private. Please remember that musicians are not just professionals. We’re passionate professionals, and music is often our whole lives, work and play. And your rejection, as politely as you word it, will always boil down to one thing:
Someone didn’t think we were good enough.
But I know that I am.