We do not often get a chance to live with a legendary musician. It’s alsomore difficult to appreciate that feeling when he is your dad! Having been born in a legend’s home – my dad is one of the greatest living Indian percussionists in Carnatic music – Padma Vibhushan Umayalpuram Sivaraman - there’s a lot of things that I learnt from him; both in the way I work and think.
LEGENDS ARE NOT MADE OVERNIGHT
Music is all about discipline, practice and a hard work ethic over a long period of time. All of us only see the success of such legends, but none can imagine the hours of practice that goes behind it. Having seen my dad practice with monomaniacal focus is something that has become an inherent part of my work and life. It made me practice what I do everyday with great intensity and focus. It is a long arduous journey to success, which does not come overnight. So is the case with our work and careers.
TRANSFORMATION HAPPENS WHEN PASSION AND WORK MEET
For my father, music is passion. When I was around him, I experienced an unbelievable energy; a fusion of passion with work. I could see that when one takes up what one loves as a career option, one’s work just becomes brilliant. There’s not a dull day or a boring moment; on the contrary there’s a necessity to learn everyday and an insatiable need to improve. It is important to take up an area of work that you are passionate about and pursue it all your life.
WORK IS NOT ALWAYS ABOUT MONEY
Watching my dad over many decades made me realise that one should not work just for money – that’s what taking music as a profession taught me. To be sure, money follows you when you are an expert or gain mastery over your profession. However, the primary focus in my dad’s early years as a musician was about being the best at his work and in achieving mastery. Then, there was a constant drive to excel. He was absolutely self-driven and there were no KRAs or appraisals and promotions needed to keep him motivated over the years. One thing that really shaped my thinking in later years, was the importance of being self-driven. I learnt the art of beating my own benchmarks and running my own race in my head every time. Money was more of a by-product that came along; albeit I understood one does not go unrewarded if one is self-driven.
CAREER IS A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT
If you are a professional musician, you will learn this the hard way. As I grew-up in that environment, I saw many people who came along and were stars. However, they vanished overnight too. I understood that retaining one’s identity as a top-ranking musician, is like running a marathon. You have to have the stamina, patience and perseverance to stay the course without being distracted. Of course that is easier said than done, but it is infinitely more important is to stay true to one’s core, persevere and be patient. Not many people who work, understand this.
GOOD CONCERTS ARE ABOUT GREAT TEAM WORK
Every time I attended concerts my dad playedat with diverse musicians across the world, or as a youngster when I myself was learning or playing at concerts, I began to understand that good concerts are about great team work. There was a need to make the entire team shine while individually one had to make one’s impact too. Orchestration, collaboration, embellishment is key to great team work and that’s something I learnt to be mindful of and practice at work.
Simply put, endearing music and the overarching presence of a musical legend in my life, has helped me understand what it takes to go with the flow and how to make a success out of one’s craft, one’s work and one’s life.