Bloom Where You’re Planted

Last week, we talked about figuring out the kind of location that best suits our individual nature and the idea that as classical musicians, we often just let inertia decide where we are going to live our lives.  How we often end up either in the town we graduated in or leaped at the first orchestra or teaching job we won, without thinking about what kind of environment we would be putting ourselves in.

And while I DO feel (strongly) that musicians need to take back a little more control over their work circumstances and create the most amazing, true to themselves life they can, there ARE circumstances that call for us to go somewhere we might consider “less-than-ideal”.

A spouse gets offered their dream job, and it involves a big move, or you need to be closer to an ailing family member, or you yourself get offered a dream position, in a less than dreamy spot.

Enter a phrase that has always evoked a spirit of adventure for me:

“Bloom Where You’re Planted”

Like a seed blowing in the wind, sometimes life just lands us somewhere we never would have expected (or asked for!).  What then?




We’ve all seen people who complain constantly about how miserable they are, and how they are “stuck” somewhere because of external circumstances.  And we’ve all seen people who found themselves in new places without friends or contacts and then, the next thing we know, they’ve started community programs, or a new chamber ensemble, or are winning a Nobel Peace Prize or something amazing.

There is something to be said for being resourceful, and figuring out how to find happiness and fulfillment anywhere.  This isn’t a dress rehearsal, folks.  So, wherever you are, it would behoove you figure it out as soon as possible and start living that best life.

If you aren’t currently living in your ideal place and you can move, then move.  If you aren’t living in your ideal place, and you can’t move, then here are 10  things you can try doing to increase the joy. I thought of these in about 5 minutes and I’m sure you could add another 10 to the list if you wanted to.

  1. Find some other players nearby and have a weekly Sunday night chamber music reading/potluck evening.


  1. Start a Music Festival.


  1. Teach online lessons


  1. Curate a concert series at a local art gallery-even if you’re the only one around who can play. (maybe especially if you’re the only one around who can play!).


  1. Write concert reviews for local performances and if the local paper doesn’t want them, just publish them on social media anyway


  1. Start a blog


  1. Take the time to learn music you haven’t had the time to learn before.


  1. Start a new hobby


  1. Book concerts for yourself-anywhere you can-retirement homes, libraries.


  1. If you have access to space and you’re in a beautiful place: start a musicians’ retreat.


I love to hear stories of people who moved somewhere unexpectedly and did incredible things.  It doesn’t matter if it was due to inspiration or boredom.  It’s the action that matters.  So, if you ever had to move somewhere that you weren’t initially pleased about, and then figured out how to find a way to bloom there regardless, tell us all about it in the comments!



6 Comments on “Bloom Where You’re Planted

  1. That was also the sentiment expressed by my Dad.
    On Saturday, October 26th Wilbur J. “Red” Raville passed away at the age of 88. He was at peace -surrounded by his family, his music, and Phyllis, his wife of 63 years.
    He was a beloved bandleader, teacher, husband, parent, and grandparent. Onstage and off, Red was funny, generous and always kind. He used his wit, his generosity and – above all – his love of music, to build a community. That community repaid Red with adoration, support and the honking of car horns.
    At every phase of his long and happy life he made friends easily and held onto them. The youngest of Joseph and Dora Raville’s four children, Red was born on November 11, 1930 in Malone, NY. It was in Malone that he first learned Piano and Trumpet – attending Franklin Academy playing in the Malone Town Band and playing his first dance jobs at just 13. At the New York State Teachers College at Potsdam and in the Delta Kappa Fraternity, he built friendships that lasted for the rest of his life. After earning his Masters in Music Education from the Crane School of Music he enlisted in the Army, playing in the Fort Hamilton Army Band in Brooklyn.
    While serving his country in New York City he learned the French horn from Arthur Berv of the NBC Symphony and was forever touched by attending Arturo Toscanini’s final performance.
    Red’s first job after the military was at Potsdam, where he met and danced with Phyllis Corbin, then a music librarian at the Crane School of Music. His red hair caught her attention, and his good humor kept her happy, in love, and together for 63 years. After their marriage on June 9th, 1956 the young couple moved to the Earlville Central School District. 54 years later he would be inducted into the school’s hall of fame and received the Lifetime Arts Award from the Chenango County Council on the Arts for his many contributions as a music and vocal teacher.
    He created the Sherburne Community Chorus, Red Raville’s Big Band Sounds, and The Mid-York Shining Brass Band. He became the conductor of the Smyrna Citizens Band, where each beautiful musical number was followed by the sound of car horns honking their appreciation into the summer night. He was the organist and choir director at St. Malachy’s Catholic Church, Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, and the United Church of Christ – all in Sherburne.
    Red and Phyllis did all this while raising four children and helping to raise four of their grandchildren –

    • What a beautiful example, David! Thank you for sharing this with us.

      It sounds like your father not only made the best life for himself, but also that wherever he landed, he managed to make life better for everyone around him as well.

      My sincere condolences on his passing. He was clearly a wonderful man.

  2. I’ve always maintained that attitude. While it’s not always easy, it helps to start with a positive attitude, a half-glass full attitude. It also helps to count your blessings every day. This literally contributes to my blooming where I’m planted.

    • You’re so right about gratitude! There is always something positive to find, if one is willing to look for it!

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