The Sanctuary of Artistry, Musicianship, Camaraderie & Growth
"I’m not good enough, “I should do so much more”, “I can never be that good”, etc.” are dangerous sentences that when not addressed fully, leads to the crippling experience that
many students of music and even of any other artistic field try to avoid: the death of creativity, sharing, and self-expression.
I spent 10 days in the Volterra Project, among many highly qualified music students who have proven their success in the different stages of their careers. While I, on the other hand, had nothing technically experiential to share, but my love for music and camaraderie. I am a communication graduate who takes pride in being able to play a 30-second piece compared to my friends who played legendary masterpieces.
The daily detailed and organized practices of the students in their own respective countries probably went beyond the normal 8-hour of an average worker -- I have never held my guitar each day with such dedication. These students besides making the most of music as a career did not only think of their own selves— for them music meant co-existing with others, respecting abilities and unique backgrounds, and encouraging growth. My fear of not being good enough transformed into courageous self-acceptance and also the search for a selfless purpose. 10 days may be short for an extremely illuminating experience with infinite results, but my perspective broadened and taught me many ways to appreciate myself and use the mentorship I got to the fullest.
I used to play music in my room all the time and would stumble when I hear the word ‘recital', ‘performance', and 'chamber music'. If I could write a book about horrific experiences in performing, I’d probably make a bestseller out of it. It’s during my first year of learning guitar at the age of 17 that put me to wits end — practice was painful and my comprehension was nowhere near redemption. I knew right away, I wasn’t meant to be a musician. However, that didn’t deter me from holding the instrument and being happy with my progress. I kept the same routine each day and my teachers became my source of Aha! moments. My skills were a product of my habits that I corrected. I wasn’t a virtuoso at all, but every person can be a hard worker in any field and succeed.
It was the Volterra Project’s unique curriculum and most importantly, its professional artists dedicated in a philosophical, practical, and entertaining approach of career building that molded something more important than guitar skills: the musician’s self. As a student , I didn’t feel the need to prove anything or to stress myself with the fear of not being good enough; every class at the Volterra Project was about the world of music around us and what we needed to know to become a better version of ourselves beyond the walls of Volterra. It was a paradise of secrets unlocked, nutrition for the soul, and eternal youth, optimism, and joy.
Guitar can be a way of life for anybody, regardless of their experience in the Volterra Project— just because I will not be performing often or that I’m a communication graduate instead of someone with a music degree, does it make my vision any less applicable to those who are performers and music degree holders. Guitar was a bond and our playing the most non-judgmental aspect of the journey. Everybody was respectful and accepting of each other’s music. Our unique life stories, our artistry that is developed in different ways through eye-opening classes, our motivations and purpose, and the selfless desire to share music is what makes the Volterra Project home for those who once considered themselves weak.
The Volterra Project found a lot of things I lost about myself. It was a sanctuary of faith and limitless growth. I had a family whose energy would rise and whose beauty would set together with the gorgeous sun and Antigoni Goni; each day was a day to look forward to.