- If a music entrepreneur’s belief in one’s unique gift, passion for making a difference through music and the willingness to take charge and learn from challenges in order to create success:
- What is your unique gift? – Do you believe in it enough to invest everything you have in it?
~My unique gift in music is in listening and preparing song forms in the classical romantic genre. As it relates to the particular piece I have the unique ability to shape and mold each piece with a unique and personal character giving life and fresh perspective to old classics. This ability helps to make me listenable and the object of great anticipation to professionals and music enthusiasts alike. I believe that the gift was God given. As I have already spent tens of thousands of dollars honing my craft and do, to this day know that I have given everything I have to my craft, including Faith. My gift requires me to have faith because I have never received a formal education in music, so I missed the fundamental background in music that most of my colleagues had the privilege of acquiring at a young age.
- What difference are you trying to make in the world? – How passionate are you about doing this?
~My gift is particularly useful in impacting the world as I am able to give my gift virtually anywhere with an acoustic piano. I hope to one day start my own school of the Fine Arts which will specialize in acquiring instruments for youths and interested adults, in order to foster the musical and artist potential of said individuals regardless of social-economic status. I am passionate about doing this because I have come from many hard years of being told that I couldn’t be a pianist and being laughed at even by family members for my interest and insistence on loving to play piano. I am passionate about this because of the combined failures and successes I’ve had on my instrument. And also through the perseverance it took not to give it up. Today, I can easily play some of the most difficult pieces of romantic music known in the world belonging to the piano.
- How do you define success for yourself? – What challenges do you face in order to create success?
~I define my success through the main scope of not giving up when the going is tough. Success for me is less contingent on the perspectives of others. Doing my best and leaving the day better than i found it is a day well spent. My challenges range from not being able to sight read new music well, to managing a mental disorder called Bipolar 2 which can make me feel depressed and lethargic. Success for me is two-fold doing what I know God put me here to do regardless of the harsh criticism I face, knowing I’ve given it my best effort. The other part of my success will be dictated by how well I can encourage and teach what I’ve come to know to others in a holistic and future tense.
- What is career vision and a mission?
~The piano is the only instrument which requires an individual to use both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously. Thus, piano study is pivotal in the development and expansion of musical creation holistically and as it relates to music and the development in the mind. The effects of playing the piano even on occasion are far-reaching. My vision is to make the piano an integral devise for all people desiring to grow intellectually, spiritually and musically. My mission is to glorify God through the scope of performance and giving back to the community with music.
~Eventually I will undertake the underpinnings of starting a school of music. Currently, I know staff and musicians who have played at the Ritz in Jacksonville among whom Miles J Davis who owns a Jazz lounge downtown. Seeing that the money is available, I will rely on the relationships I’ve built with other musicians and supporters thereof. Another indispensable aspect is working odd jobs in retail or at the University to help fund my plans. The other half is faith in The Lord. God’s word helps me to deal with the uncertainty life brings because in Psalm 139:14 is reads that I am “Wonderfully and fearfully made.” And I know I can do all things because in Ephesians 3:16 reads, “that according to the riches of [GODS] glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” I use Gods word as a foundation because it has existed before us and will exist after I am dead, Matthew 24:35 reads, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
~Now, through working as a private teacher, acquiring a Bachelor’s degree in performance, and volunteering with the community, I am fostering relationships and gratitude which will serve as the foundation of future undertakings. I’ve learned never to base success off of merely my own perspective or understanding. I know that I need others along the way.
- Can you innovate and create value and successfully communicate that value to intended audiences?
~I value making a positive impact on myself through music. Yes I can innovate and create value through triangulation on a wide variety of topics, given Gods words and through my own personal sufferings and failings. The question here should be, where are be choosing to place our faith?, if it’s in the nation’s economy or even own efforts we in essence choose to be our own God. Why should I have faith only in my own abilities when it is written in, Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen”
~I can communicate a multiverse of different times and cultures through music. Playing piano communicates the passion I have for the music as an individual and creates unity between modern day innovation and thematic atmospheres of times past. It’s just fun!
- Do you have a positive attitude?
~Absolutely. Even on days when My mental illness presents me with crushing lows. I’ve acquired the amazing ability to smile even when I hurt. I’m able to see how far I’ve come. And I can always simply turn to the Bible and reaffirm it to myself as it is written in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Hope and positivity i believe is a decision, one with immediate rewards. I foster positivity with an attitude of gratitude even for small things, like clean water.
I never rely solely on my own human and finite perspective and understanding of the world around me because it is simply inefficient.
- Have you set your goals? What is your road map to success? Can you set inspiring and realistic goals?
~I have set my goals primarily in fostering healthy relationships and acquiring a musical degree.
~My road map to success is through the study of God’s word and the honing of my God given musical gift.
~Essentially, I live in a world where anything is possible. Is was unrealistic to think I’d ever acquire a music scholarship on the bases of raw talent with no musical background, but that’s where God came in. I know there are 24 hrs. in a day. So whatever I can achieve in that period including sleep I’ve learned to be content therewith.
- Do you have and/or acquire the necessary expertise to actualize your vision?
~I believe it takes a village for a vision to be realized and then actualized. I believe the community I’ve come to find in Jacksonville is a quintessential start of actualizing my own vision. My vision is co-dependent on those who have similar values and are willing to invest therein. So even though I do not have many decades of experience I remain opportunistic.
- What are your priorities? Can you set priorities?
~My first priority is to take care of myself via the managing of my illness, so that I will be at peace enough to see the best in people and forgive those who doubt me.
~I love priorities because often they change from season to season. Setting priorities is as how I’ve gotten so far in my musical education.
~These Priorities help me to take the best immediate actions in order to form the right habits which propel me into success.
- What opportunities are you looking for? What opportunities are you creating or intend to create?
~I’m looking for opportunities to give back the music I’ve come to know intellectually and spiritually with others.
~I intent to create opportunities for beginners and even learned individuals to see that there is more their gift has to offer society as a whole than meets the eye.
- How comfortable are you with uncertainty? What risks are you willing to take?
~I’m comfortable with uncertainty in a respectable sense I would suppose as I understand that tomorrow is not guaranteed. Nor is good health or long life promised. I’m willing to stand up and preach God’s words to people I’m not close to and be vulnerable enough to perform music that is bigger than me.
~I have risked everything through the pursuit of music and higher learning. To the point of becoming a social pariah in my family. And escaping preset modern day and traditional statistics and pitfalls. Finding my own way is often uncertain but the pay offs for being different are far reaching and well worth the uncertainty.
- When facing challenges, do you persevere or do you walk away?
~Very rarely, have I walked away from a challenge. I persevere because nothing is worse than being bored. I believe Challenges make life interesting.
- What experience have you learned the most from?
~I learned the most from performing for highly skilled peers and professionals in this community. Mostly that I will find the right support and make the right friendships to be respectably sane. Lastly, that there is always room for everyone to grow.
~I’ve had the privilege of supporting my peers in their respective niches in the arts.
~I’ve learned that I am far more capable and competent than I had previously thought in previous years. I’ve learned NEVER to doubt myself.
- What actions are you taking to realize your vision? Are you consistently taking action?
~I’m taking a class which asks me difficult questions. I’m consistently practicing even on days when I hate it passionately.
- How well do you put things in context? Are you able to easily respond to changes in your environment? What’s your best example?
~I would say I’m very good at putting things into context. For example, when playing earlier forms of music I get to play time-traveler. If I’m playing Bach, I can research and envision what his actual music may have sounded like. This information allows me understand that long held out notes and contrasting tones are unnecessary and unrealistic to Bach’s original vision. Historically Bach didn’t have the powerful piano forte we are used to hearing today, so when playing his music, I can take that into consideration and understand that he relied more on musical elements such as meter and harmony more than loudness or variation of tone/color and held notes. This helps me in a dynamic way as it frees me from my own artist bias.
- What is your plan to continually grow and evolve? How have you grown or evolved in there past year or three?
~My plans is to stay in school for as long as possible, even to the masters level if possible. In the past three years I’ve grown exponentially in technical ability and intellectualizing of different song forms for the Piano-forte.
- How easy is it for you to reach out to others to ask for support and to offer help?
~Very easy especially in the area of the piano and it’s technique. For example my entire church community knows i teach piano part-time. Every so often I have people contacting me looking for help with other instruments. Even though piano is my primary i can certainly shed light on musical fundamentals like theory as well as pointing people to other people/sources where they can find out more about their topic.
- How are you inspiring others to join and/or support your mission in order to create a financially sustainable enterprise that allows you to live your gift and contribute something valuable to society? – If you aren’t currently, how do you intend to?
~I inspire my community by volunteering my time at Shands hospital and nursing homes across Jacksonville. I also am a part of a church that supports me in every way including financially at some points. I intend on using my success to build others around me by never forgetting my humble background and staying true to the level of excellence fostered by favorite professors and peers.