In academic medicine, the accepted pathway to success is to take a pretty traditional route—run a lab, teach medical students, and practice clinical medicine. Nobody tells you that this is the “accepted” pathway to “success,” but it’s pretty much understood. After all, culture is dictated by what is unsaid more than what is said.
By no means has this culture influenced me to take this path, but it has implicated a daily struggle to act as a cheerleader for my small community within medical school that does want to make impact in a different way. At the same time, the dominant message is sometimes so powerful that, after one year of medical school, I find myself questioning the validity of my own intentions and values.
After the Fellowship, I thought I’d come to a place as a musician where I understood there are multiple ways to live out a life in music, not just the typical one championed by the powers-that-be. This is exactly how I felt after my recent residency in Pittsburgh. I spent three days with Liza Barley and Gil Teixeira, who are musicians, teaching artists, creative workshop leaders, and more.
I reconnected with Liza after the Collaboration & Creativity Laboratory she led in Boston last summer, and met Gil for the first time. We spent our time working through Making Your Life as an Artist; talking about our personal, professional, and artistic goals; playing with CEEMI, Gil’s brain-child; re-discovering our artistic beginnings; and just getting to know each other as people. There was so much unstructured time to let things sit and marinate.
I felt that my internal goals as a musician and artist were completely aligned with the goals of my external environment—who I surrounded myself with, what we read, how we interacted with each other. I returned to Boston feeling whole, and I realized the importance of intentionally developing an artistic community around me.
I think the lasting question is to all of the Fellows—do you have an artistic community where you are?
Clara Yang, Sistema Fellow '14