Misha Olarrea is a University of Kansas sophomore from Tuscan, Arizona. He is a saxophonist majoring in jazz performance and plays in Jazz Ensemble 1 and Jazz Combo 1.
I think being a musician teaches you how to be OK with spending a lot of time alone, which I think is something necessary because every person needs to learn how to be independent, or at least try to (try to is the key part). And then I think the other important thing that can be learned from music is how to listen.
I would also say the thing that music can teach us about the world would be to be in the present moment. Because if you’re not in the present moment, you’re not gonna be playing well, no matter the style or context with which you play.
I don’t think there’s anything that separates a person who plays at a very high level from just an average person, other than just practice.
The best advice I’ve ever gotten is never tie your identity to something that you do. Because everything can change, and that thing that you do can change.
I would say the most rewarding aspect of being a musician – or I guess a jazz musician – is when the people that you’re playing with and you lock together, and it feels like you’re sharing the same mind almost. And it feels incredibly natural and not forced at all, and that’s an amazing feeling.
I get nervous beforehand. I think everybody does. It all melts away once I start performing. I try to be in the moment, at least.