Questions for Musical Introspection

This blog post originally appeared as a digital clarinet studio lecture for the Iowa State University clarinetists.


The last few months have been a whirlwind of emotions for everybody. I’ve been feeling a bit introspective lately (and I’m sure I’m not alone), so I thought I’d share some of the questions I’ve been asking myself and my students. While the world feels like it’s temporarily on pause, now is a great time to take a step back and consider your role as a musician and how you can use your music and your experiences going forward.

Here are a few questions I’ve been musing over the last several weeks. Feel free to add your own or share your answers in the comments:

  • What role can your music play during this time?
  • How can you use your music to help others?
  • Why do you love music / your instrument?
  • What have been your most meaningful performances? (Follow-up questions: What made this particular performance more meaningful than others? How did you prepare differently? How can you recreate this experience in future performances?)
  • What experiences have helped you develop into the musician you are now?
  • What was the most profound thing a teacher said during a lesson?
  • Who are your musical muses?
  • What obstacles have you overcome, and how did you surpass these?
  • What is the purpose of music in society?
  • Why do you want to be a musician (in whatever capacity you choose)?
  • How will the role of music in society be different after the pandemic?

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