Wednesday, March 06, 2019


There's a Yiddish folk story about a couple with six children cramped into a one-room hut. When the father asked the local Rabbi for advice about how to get along in their small space, the Rabbi advised him to bring the family's chickens in the house. When the father complained to the Rabbi the next week that the chickens were not making things better, the Rabbi advised him to bring in the family's cow. The next week the Rabbi told him to let the horse in. This went on for a while. The father was in despair. The Rabbi finally told the father to let the animals out.

The next week the father thanked the Rabbi, and said that his house was now peaceful.

This is how I feel about no longer participating in Facebook. It has been ten weeks since I deleted my account.

I was worried at first that I would miss out on what was going on with our children, but we talk on the phone all the time. I worried that people wouldn't know about the concerts that I was playing. But I always let people know about concerts I'm playing by way of email. I have learned that I don't reach any "new" audiences through Facebook. I have often observed that an "event" on Facebook is often something people may show public interest in, but then they forget about writing down the information, and therefore don't attend.

I was worried that my social world would get smaller. It has. But I'm not unhappy about it. I tend to enjoy the time I spend interacting with people more. I can always reach my friends through email.

The best thing for me is the amount of time I now have to spend doing the things I love to do. Since leaving Facebook I have written some good music (I've shared some of it here), and I have completed the huge project of performing and engraving the Kunc Sonata. I have posted about it here, but somehow it does not feel like careerist self-promotion to post things here. On Facebook it does. I suppose that is because musicians so often use Facebook to promote their careers.

I remember listening to a podcast about musical careerist stuff where the "career advisor" suggested "friending" people on Facebook, and then "unfollowing" them. That way, she advised, people will see you, but you don't need to see them. I have come to understand that this kind of thing happens all the time. I'm interested in relationships that are honest. I like situations where I see you and you see me. I fear Facebook-based interaction is becoming more the norm.

As for careerist aspirations, I have none. I love playing music with my friends and colleagues. I love playing concerts, and I love playing "gigs." I enjoy getting paid when I play with professional musicians, and I enjoy playing for fun with amateur musicians. I enjoy getting paid to write music for people, and I love writing music that I can share in the IMSLP.

My greatest aspiration is for quality, both in my playing and in my writing. Measuring quality in "likes" is terribly unhealthy for me.

It is a trade-off. I suppose that if I worked the social media (and regular media) angles more, I could have more of a "career" as a composer, but I don't want to compromise my time. I want to spend the time I have doing the things I love, not the things I don't like to do.

No comments: