Humans of Music (part 4: Maylaffayza)

Humans of Music, by Felicia Satyadi and Vanessa Tunggal.

Felicia and Vanessa asked questions to musicians over lunch, coffee or even online chat applications and received inspirational answers in return.

The article is going to be in English and Bahasa Indonesia.

 

Maylaffayza, Indonesia's crossover violinist

 

How do you see musicians?

I see musicians as warriors. Musicians are build through years of hardwork, trained, taught, schooled. Untuk menjadi musisi perlu keberanian, kerja keras yang panjang, disertai ilmu dan kemampuan yg terlatih. Jadi di mata saya musisi adalah pejuang.

What makes you keep being involved in music?

Saya mau bekerja dan bertahan di bidang musik karena memang cinta musik sejak kecil dan saya punya impian besar yang harus saya buat jadi kenyataan. Saya juga yakin dengan potensi diri saya yang masih jauh bisa dikembangkan. Itu juga mengapa setelah saya sudah 13 tahun berkarir dan selesai S2 tahun 2013, saya kembali kuliah di jurusan Classical Music Performance dengan strata S1 dimana berarti akan berjalan 4 tahun. Teman-teman pun separuh usia saya. Sekarang saya masih 1 tahun lagi studi dan saya yakin evolusi diri hasil pendidikan ini luar biasa. You want to live your best at your most maximum potential. That is why I stay in my field. I am here to stay.

How does music 'touch' your life?

Musik adalah bidang yang memang panggilan hati sejak kecil. Karenanya saya mempunyai impian, dan untuk itu saya rela bersusah-susah selama apapun dengan cara apapun untuk mewujudkan potensi musik yang bisa saya raih. Musik telah mengubah banyak dari hidup saya, membentuk karakter saya, memberikan tantangan, dan cobaan bahkan menunjukan sisi baik dan kekurangan saya.

If you could turn back time, what do you want to be?

Kalau mengulang hidup, saya tetap ingin jadi musisi, bedanya saya ingin masuk conservatory lebih awal. Dulu saya kuliah S1 jurusan product design tahun 1994, lalu setelah lama berprofesi dalam bidang musik, tahun 2012 saya masuk S2 jurusan creative enterprise, baru sekarang S1 jurusan musik yang dimulai sejak tahun 2013. Saya juga ingin lahir dan hidup di luar negeri, di negara dimana pendidikan, budaya dan industri musiknya lebih maju. Namun sejauh ini bagi saya terlepas khayalan tsb, saya mensyukuri semua anugerah yg saya miliki sekarang ini. It has been amazing.

Professional musicians versus music enthusiasts?

Saya tidak merasa kedua hal tsb harus dibuat 'versus'. Keduanya memiliki kelebihan masing-masing. Bahkan sebagai seorang musisi profesional yg sudah menjalani karir selama 17 tahun, saya ingin agar semangat saya tetap dengan semangat 'amateur' yang fresh, dinamis, flexible, antusias dan playful.

Full-Time musician: can you imagine being a full-time office worker? 

Saya tidak terbayang kalau saya bekerja 'kantoran' setiap hari. Sejauh ini kantor saya adalah ruang latihan, studio, panggung serta dimanapun saya harus meeting dengan client saya untuk mempersiapkan show atau konser. However, saya sangat terbuka dengan bidang apapun lainnya selain musik yang sejalan dengan bidang creative atau passion saya dalam gaya hidup sehat. 

Inspirational story.

Saya dididik oleh Idris Sardi, beliau salah satu inspirasi dan pengaruh terkuat di hidup saya. Almarhum Idris Sardi adalah pemain violin virtuos legendaris yang terbukti memiliki pencapaian karir yang tinggi. Saya mengenal beliau secara pribadi, beliau tidak hanya mengajarkan ilmu musik, tetapi juga mengajarkan saya tentang orchestra management, bagaimana memproduksi konser, menyelenggarakan latihan dan bagaimana ber-attitude, karena bila salah bersikap, musisi bisa salah jalan.

Idris Sardi adalah role model yang membuat saya mengerti hasil dari usaha ekstra keras. Beliau adalah bukti nyata bahwa musisi yang berhasil bukan hanya sukses pada segi seni, namun juga dari segi pekerjaan, karir dan finansial serta respek dari berbagai kalangan.

Sekarang ini, di pendidikan classical music performance yg saya jalani di music conservatory UPH, saya di didik oleh Tomislav Dimov. Sebuah periode lain dalam kehidupan musik dan akademik dimana saya dididik dan diberikan banyak sekali ilmu oleh beliau yang membuat saya terinspirasi.

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Humans of Music (part 3: Elizabeth Rusli)

Humans of Music, by Felicia Satyadi and Vanessa Tunggal.

Felicia and Vanessa asked questions to musicians over lunch, coffee or even online chat applications and received inspirational answers in return.

The article is going to be in English and Bahasa Indonesia.

Read More

Humans of Music (part 2: Elaine Ding Waworuntu)

Humans of Music, by Felicia Satyadi and Vanessa Tunggal.

Felicia and Vanessa asked questions to musicians over lunch, coffee or even online chat applications and received inspirational answers in return.

The article is going to be in English and Bahasa Indonesia.

 

Read More

Humans of Music (part 1: Rafika Primadesti)

Humans of Music, by Felicia Satyadi and Vanessa Tunggal.

Felicia and Vanessa asked questions to musicians over lunch, coffee or even online chat applications and received inspirational answers in return.

The article is going to be in English and Bahasa Indonesia.

Questions:

1. How do you see musicians?

2. What makes you keep being involved in music?

3. How music touches your life?

4. If you could turn back time, what do you want to be?

5. Professional musicians versus music enthusiasts?

6. Full-Time musician: can you imagine being a full-time office worker? Full-time office worker: can you imagine being a full-time musician?

7. Inspirational story.

 

 

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Be your own competition.

As a musician, it is hard for me to feel good about myself since I am surrounded by amazing musicians.

Someone who is much younger than me has already done this.

Someone who is at my age has already done this.

Someone who is just a bit older than me has already done that.

It feels like I am always in a competition and the world seems to be too intimidating.

 I often feel uncreative, untalented, and unproductive.

I often feel like I am not improving fast enough.

I often feel like I do not have any significant contribution.

I constantly beat myself up for not being as (insert an adjective here) as others and not doing as much as others.

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On Making Music; The Story of The Princess and The Whole Note Test

Once upon a time, there was a Princess who lived in the Ice Cream Kingdom. The Princess wanted to pass the Whole Note Test, which had to be taken by anyone who wanted to become a true musician. However, she felt that she was still not good enough and she needed to seek wisdom from The Kings and The Queens. Therefore, she decided to travel to meet The Kings and The Queens, and wrote the conversations she had in lessons with Their Majesties in her pink diary.

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Notes to my younger self

Dear seventeen-year-old Vanessa,

You are going to have your first recital and you are worried because the pieces are not sounding perfect. Trust me, everything is going to be fine. In fact, your 20-year-old self just been told to not to be a perfectionist who gets panic all the time. Chill.

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To Compare or Not to Compare, That is the Question.

I am ready.

Everything is under control.

I love this piece.

I played it in a competition last year.

I played it in a master class last semester.

I played it in a recital last week.

I will nail this one.

I launched the piece and right after I played the thirteenth bar, I did not know what comes next.

I felt a bit afraid to tell my teacher that I had a memory lapse. The first thing I said to him was, “I don’t get it.” “Get what?” “I just don’t get why I had memory slip. Everyone could play without memory slip. It should not have happened. I know that piece really well! It was not my first time playing that piece.” He replied, “How many times have you performed it? Three times? Four times? I went to the ‘X’ International Piano Competition during the break. People who did really well, I could tell that they have been practicing hard and have performed their pieces hundreds, or maybe a thousand times! I am not making it up, maybe they have been playing them for years, and you are confused because you had a memory lapse when you performed that piece for the… fourth time?”

I once watched a more experienced pianist performed a piece I was practicing at that time. She played beautifully. I told her how I admire her and how I keep telling myself that I will not be able to do as well as her. She responded, “Here is the key young lady, if you spend 1/3 of your day with your instrument, how is it possible that the instrument does not love you back? Oh ...and I am twice your age."

A couple of years ago, I met a girl in a competition. We are at the same age and I could not help myself from comparing her playing to mine. She had a minor memory lapse but she recovered quickly. Her performance was outstanding while mine was not. I played safe. I only played the notes. I did not even try to make the piece musical because I was too scared. I talked to her afterward and apparently, she practiced six hours a day and performed her first concerto when she was eleven.

I realized that I was creating heartbreaks by comparing myself to other people instead of letting them inspire and motivate me to do better. It is hard to not to compare yourself to others, but ‘if your mind insists on comparing yourself to someone who is more advanced or more experienced, at least try to avoid comparing your worst moments to their best moments.’

Some people can secure a place in an orchestra while others are too nervous to play in tune.

Some people can deliver great performance while others struggle to memorize the piece.

Some people can compose beautiful melodies in five minutes while others take hours to do it.

Some people can sight-read a piece of music while others need hours to practice it.

It is not that they are different. They are just a few steps ahead. Maybe they had an early start or maybe they did the hard work. Some of us just need a bit (or quite a lot) of work to do and it is not always rainbows and butterflies!

Next time when you compare yourself to others, get totally depressed thinking that you would never be as good as him or her, please go ask yourself, “Have I practiced as much as he did? Have I performed as much as she did? Have I been doing this as long as they have been? Have I put as much effort as they did?” If you have not even done as much as they did, who are you to compare yourself to people who clearly have been working way harder than you? 

On performance anxiety

Whenever I have a performance or recital coming up, people often ask me, “Why do you have to do it?”

I used to believe that some people are born to be performers and some people are not meant to be on stage, but now I have changed my opinion. I believe that everyone has the ability to perform well but some musicians do not know that they could feel comfortable on stage. People react to performance anxiety differently and some people need longer time on stage or more performance experiences than others to make them strong performers. However, some musicians have not had the courage to perform, the opportunity to perform or the chance to play more than one short piece in a performance.

 

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Rejection or redirection?

I do not always say that I hate rejection, but I do hate it, and I think most people feel the same way.

On the other day, while I was staring at my phone screen checking my Instagram, I came across a quote. “As I look back on my life, I realize that when I thought I was being rejected from something good I was actually being re-directed to do something better.” I put my phone down and tried to retrieve my memory of rejection.

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A confession

I miss teaching my students how to play ornaments, singing with them, telling them to ‘bring out the melody’, forcing them to perform in concerts, telling them to sit on the piano stool ‘like a princess’, and sharing some funny stories with them. I also miss their lame excuses such as, “I can’t practice because I forgot to”, “I don’t know which piece you want me to practice”, I had a lot of home works and tests”. I have always been a strict teacher. Not only that I have sent some of my students home when they did not practice, but I am pretty sure all of them had been yelled at some point. My favorite lines are, “I am not a babysitter. I don’t want your mom to pay me just to sit here and watch you practice, something that you can do alone at home.”

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"That is so cool, I (used to) play the Violin."

At the beginning of the year, I decided to stop playing Violin, thinking that it might be better for me to learn a woodwind instrument since I am hopeless with Violin. Since I finished high school, I did not even bother to improve my Violin skills anymore. Two of the main reasons are: I do not have a good tone (yet!) and imagining myself holding the bow incorrectly makes me sick. 

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“Ah, so you are majoring in music? That’s easy!”

This post is originally written for Indonesia Mengglobal.

I have heard this kind of statement a million times, and so far the most condescending one was, “My son is not that smart. He can’t really study well at school so I want him to study music in college.” Back then, those statements left me speechless until I realized that people are still unfamiliar with the whole tertiary music education concept, despite the increasingly growing number of Indonesian music students.

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