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Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

How music teaches us to be beyond category.

goodfreephotos/Public Domain
Source: goodfreephotos/Public Domain

A violin makes different music than a trumpet; a viola has even subtler differences of sound. This isn't a fault, but rather what makes the orchestra so beautiful, and what makes each instrument truly special.

When we invidiously compare ourselves to others, we easily forget what kind of instrument we are—how to play on our own terms—and instead, we try to unfairly force ourselves into another instrument or even an altogether different genre.

Remember that the goal of life is to fashion your own music based on the unique instrument you've been given and the particular sensibility you have with making a new creative form, whether it's classical, jazz, pop, R&B, or who knows what else from the myriad forms out there.

You may find that your instrument is one that is known or is one as yet undiscovered. Odds are, when you do find out the range and capacity of what you can play, your goal will be making beautiful music which, like Duke Ellington said, will be "beyond category."

So, the next time you find yourself looking over your shoulder, just remember that we are all here to make music and that yours is essential.

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