Good morning my dearest readers! Happy Saturday!
It is with great pleasure that today positively profession-elle continues its “Inspirational Young Female Professionals Series”!!! This is something I continue to be very excited about as it will allow us all to explore strategies for achieving balance in life and gain great insight into fostering meaningful educational and professional careers, through the eyes of some very special and inspirational women!
Without further ado, I would like to introduce you all to Lara Deutsch; an inspirational woman who has dedicated her life to exploring her passion and talent for music.
Lara is currently Principal Flute with the Pronto Musical Chamber Orchestra in Montreal, a founding member of the wind quintet entitled Kaleïo and will be playing with the National Academy Orchestra this upcoming summer!
I am beyond certain that each and every one of us will find great motivation and positive energy from her interview with positively profession-elle. Here is what she had to say about the things that bring her strength and the experiences that make her work meaningful…truly inspirational! Thank you Lara!
1) “I’ve learned that making a living is not the same as making a life.” ~ Maya Angelou
How has your career path allowed you to find fulfillment and purpose in your life beyond simply ‘making a living’? How has your career allowed you to ‘make a life’?
I am incredibly fortunate that my career path is one in which I essentially cannot separate passion from work. In fact, “making a living” as musician can be much harder than finding personal fulfillment. Music is a powerful tool of self-expression and self-discovery. I have learned a great deal about myself through performing: that I am happiest when emotionally connected to others; that the absolute best parts of life are shared moments on which you cannot put a price; that vulnerability is a beautiful thing from which we can always grow. Through my teaching experiences (particularly with NPOs which provide free music education to children in underprivileged areas), I have seen the incredible power of music to develop confidence, determination and a strong sense of community, one which is indescribably fulfilling.
My career as a musician has given me many skills and qualities ― communication, organization, goal-setting, perseverance, resilience ― which are, of course, applicable to life in all ways. Most importantly, it has allowed me to connect with people on an intensely personal level in a way that makes me cherish even more every one of my relationships. To me, a large part of “making a life” is the ability to share it with those I care about. Not for a second do I ever take for granted the important people in my life and how much they contribute to my health, happiness and well-being, and I do my best to do the same for them.
2) What brings balance to your life?
I think the key to finding balance is remembering that before being a good musician (or a good doctor, researcher, lawyer ― you name it), the goal is to be a good person. Contrary to the way we are often trained in such a highly competitive and career-driven society, the two should never be mutually exclusive. Of course I work hard at my craft, but I also choose to work hard at being a loving partner, a reliable friend, an informed citizen, a contributing member of my community and a regular exerciser (amongst other things!), all of which I believe to be equally important roles. I enjoy wearing all of these different hats and I feel strongly that what I gain from one contributes to all of the others. This also helps me to avoid the feeling of burning out because I have so many outlets that allow me to take a break and do something different. “Variety is the spice of life,” right?
3) Was there a special person, mentor, moment or experience in your past that you drew inspiration from in order to persevere and achieve success in your professional life?
I can think of so many different mentors and moments that have inspired me that it’s really hard to pick one! I honestly can’t remember wanting to pursue a career in anything other than music. I think what kept me persevering (despite having a number of school teachers tell me I shouldn’t “waste my brain” in the arts and should instead be a doctor or something “useful”) were two things. First, an incredible support system: family, music teachers and generous strangers who believed in me and who supported me, often financially, or by finding me opportunities to perform, or even with free lessons. Second, and what I draw inspiration from most, are those performances which have reminded me that music is not just a form of entertainment. The ones that bring you to tears (a few particular performances of Mahler symphonies come to mind) or the ones after which an audience member tells you that your concert was the saving grace of an otherwise terrible day. To me, the ability to take a listener into a different world for a while ― whether it relaxes them, whether it gives them time to reflect on their emotions, whether it helps them connect with someone else or to a past memory ― is just as “useful” as any other career is.
(If you feel like reading a little more about this idea, PLEASE check out this welcome address that was given at the Boston Conservatory ― a beautiful piece on the purpose of music!: http://www.bostonconservatory.edu/music/karl-paulnack-welcome-address)
4) What advice would you give Positively Profession-elle readers?
Remember that the only person who really knows what you can do is YOU. People are often quick to criticize ― and criticism is not necessarily a bad thing, of course ― but the key to success is to take what you can from criticism and move on. Always believe in yourself and trust what you know you can do. A little bit of confidence goes a LONG way, internally and externally.
Stay positive and never underestimate the power of your mind. The way you speak to yourself in your mind has an ENORMOUS impact on your success. We are all performers in any job ― whether it’s doing an interview, making a presentation, whatever ― and positive thinking will make for a better performance 10 times out of 10. Rewire your brain to tell yourself what to DO (“I’m going to ace this!”), not what not to do (“Don’t mess up!”).
Fear is your friend. The majority of the things you’re scared by are ones which possibly have an amazing outcome but which also risk failure. If you succeed in getting whatever that outcome is, awesome! You win. If you fail, you fail, but you learn from that experience and you’re all the stronger for next time…so, you still win. It’s a win-win situation, so go for it!
Always be yourself. You never know who is watching. People take notice of the little things and remember them later. Be professional, be friendly and be true to yourself, regardless of the way other people around you may be acting.
And make time for fun!
Thank you so much Lara for allowing us into your thoughts!! What beautiful words and notions!
p.s. Dearest readers, one project Lara is well acquainted with and very passionate about is OrKidstra, based out of Ottawa, Canada. It’s based on the Venezuelan system of El Sistema, where music is funded as a social program to keep kids off the streets and out of trouble. Check their website out – they do amazing work: http://leadingnotefoundation.org/