What is it that inspired me to go into music? What inspires anyone to choose their career path? What are you passionate about and, are you willing to go after it?
I’m sure you’ve all visited with groups of people where you’re all reminiscing about why you’ve chosen a specific career or how you felt led to go one direction over another. As with all stories, mine is probably as entertaining as the rest. Let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start…)
Music was never really my first love. Somehow, I think protecting myself from all of my brothers was a general focus during grade school. I didn’t grow up in a household where we listened to a lot of music. Every once in a while, my dad would get out his guitar and play and we’d all clamor to the living room to watch in awe. Or, when we went to visit my grandparents, my grandmother would play the piano and sing. Oh… she had a beautiful voice! She even taught me how to play “Hey Diddle Diddle, the Cat and the Fiddle” on the piano. Those were definitely special times.
Maybe when it was time to consider taking band in 6th grade, I’d already been primed, at least a little bit, to consider joining band. My older brother already played trumpet and being slightly jealous of that, I was a little more than curious. Then it happened… the band director came to our classroom with an armload of instruments for us to try. I was given a clarinet, and try as I may, there was no way I was ever going to get a sound out of that thing!
The clincher with all of this? My uncle was the band director. I wanted to play the trumpet but since my brother already did, it was decided that I would play the clarinet. I don’t really remember being given the opportunity to voice a loud opinion about that. So, it was settled and off to the music store we went to get my first clarinet. That first year of band, my uncle practically dragged me to rehearsals. Out of 33 clarinets, I was dead last. It’s a miracle that I even lasted that first year. However, I had promised my dad that I would stay in band for at least two years. If, after those two years I wanted to quit, I could. My word was my word.
Skipping past several years here, I eventually learned to love playing the clarinet. My high school band director constantly said “You could be so good if you only practiced!” What kid has never heard that? One summer, I took him up on the practice thing and lo and behold, I actually got better! It was at that point, my career direction became clear. I eventually went off to college and majored in music three times. Uh… yeah, three times. Now officially “Dr. Hungerford,” I can look back on all those years of training and think of all the things, besides music, that I learned while becoming a professional classical musician.
I have discovered that when you follow your passions, you learn to appreciate the God-given gift within you. When you nurture that gift, even through times of heartache, good still comes out of that. Music is not only a passion, it’s a way to express love and emotion. What you can’t express in words, can be expressed through music. At one point in my life, music was an escape from reality, which is not always so good. However, our wonderful Creator used that to help me learn some things about myself, which eventually made me a more “musical” performer. I became more passionate in my approach to performing a piece of music.
Even after living through an abusive marriage and wanting to totally give up music, I somehow pushed through and remembered the passion that was in my heart. It wasn’t until I’d been divorced for four years before I actually finished the doctoral degree and to think… I almost gave up. Not always knowing how things would look in the future, I clung to promises that I knew had been spoken over and into me.
During the “interesting” marriage, I began meeting with a group of friends in prayer meetings where I was asked to sit and just play… In those sessions, I played the piano and would join another friend who played guitar. She was amazing! For me, a classical musician to sit and “just play” was not something I was used to. My friend? It literally flowed out of her! It was during these prayer sessions that I learned to listen to what was coming up from within me so eventually, I could play for hours. In a sense, it felt like all of the locked up pain was being released as I sat and allowed the music to flow through me.
What have I learned through all of this? There are many things in life that are not easy. Life is gonna stink! And, you’re gonna have to pick yourself up and carry on. The other alternative really doesn’t do you any good. I mean, who wants to sit and wallow in pity? Yeah… that really won’t get you very far because all you would end up doing is “petting” the pity like you would a puppy. Talk about being stuck!
So, to answer my question about what I’ve learned… Once I allowed myself to let go and let the music flow that was coming up from within me, some deeper emotional healing began to take place. I also knew that our most amazing Creator was utilizing those frequencies within the music itself to reach deep down inside and heal wounds that had been there quite some time. Think of the times you hear a piece of music and you know that it reaches into the very depths of your being. You know there’s something special about that song for that moment. Chances are, you’re going to remember that moment the rest of your life.
Music is an amazing tool for restoration. So, when I finally learned after years of being a professional musician to allow what I was creating to reach deep within for the purposes of healing, the “art” of making music took on a whole different meaning. Not only has it made my classical playing more emotional and heartfelt, I’ve become more aware that what I create can reach out to others for the same purpose of healing and restoration. I actually enjoy listening to my own music and getting something new out of it each day. My “Prophetic Musical Journey” series is the start of many new things in my life. I’m happy to share some of my self-discovery with you, too.
I encourage you to follow your passions and let your dreams become more alive every day. Hang onto them, nurture them, and allow them to flow freely from within. Your destiny awaits and unless you can walk through lingering fear and doubt, you’ll never know how far that dream could go.