We seem to inhabit a world reluctant to take risks, a world where we’re too hesitant to step out of our comfort zone, and take a leap of faith. Maybe we feel what we do won’t have any substantial impact. Maybe we grew up too sheltered, or too spoiled. Or maybe we live in a world where venturing into the unknown in pursuit of our dreams and aspirations is “irrational” or “redundant.”
Playing on the dynamic @4410 stage for the first time was a risk. Every time I played on that stage, all my insecurities and worries would dissipate through the music. I remember the multi-colored lights shining on me, the silhouettes of strangers in the crowd, and my fingers dancing across the fretboard as I played. It felt like I was at home. It was a risk, but it was a risk worth taking.
My first day working at Contemporary Music Center was a risk. I had just turned 16 and had no prior work experience, and I had to learn the tricks of the trade in hopes that I would be an asset to the store. I grew close to the teachers and the customers, sharing the store’s vision to all those that walked in. Witnessing the smiling faces of musicians, young and old, beginner or advanced, never failed to warm my heart. Using the store as a platform to communicate with other musicians was an honor and a great privilege. However, attaining these skills wasn’t easy. It was that process of jumping into cold water, and learning how to swim, that made me into the employee I am today.
I took a risk when I joined Rock Camp for the first time. I had never before participated in a program of that type, and was unsure of what the ensuing weeks would hold. I was challenged every day to excel musically, emotionally, and psychologically. My understanding and musical dexterity expanded due to the coaching and mentoring I received. The bond I had with my friends strengthened as we played our favorite songs. And most importantly, my reverence and passion for music only grew with the time I spent in Rock Camp.
I will soon be attending Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee this fall. It’s a risk that I believe will determine the rest of my life. But if I have learned anything from my experience at CMC, it’s that the risks we take produce rewards. We grow as a result of our failures, and reflect on our success. We connect with those we’d never thought we would. We discover unforeseen passions and emotions that are unveiled by the gift of music.
They say life begins the moment you step out of your comfort zone. From my experience, that certainly remains true. I am grateful for my journey at CMC which led me to pursue what I love, and along the way has facilitated my growth as a musician and as a young adult. Because of CMC, I’m choosing to pursue my passion, and all the risks and rewards that come along with it.
- Joe B.