The trajectories of our life and career journeys can be straightforward, or they can be convoluted, with many sharp turns, nooks and crannies, and detours along the way. The changes and challenges that life has in store for us can be great. What matters most is that they eventually lead to a happy and fulfilled life – and not just in career terms. The following stories of personalities from among AMU graduates illustrate this statement.
Adam Soukup’s hands are no longer busy playing the piano – these days, they work the sidestick and other equipment in the Gulfstream 500 jet cockpit. A graduate of HAMU’s bachelor piano programme, he quit the pianist career 18 years ago and earns his living as a pilot with a private airline. Aviation has been Adam’s interest since early childhood. “It was growing within me while my interest in piano playing was progressively waning. I was increasingly more into flying. So, I decided to just make the switch one day,” Adam describes the journey that took him towards completing his first flying course. “I loved it and was quite good at it. So, I borrowed some money and went on. It took me basically two years to reach a stage where I was able to make my living as a pro pilot.” Adam has definitely lost his relationship with music. “It doesn’t mean that I love music less than I did earlier. I just don’t play professionally anymore. That’s all. The time you spend playing music is never lost,” he explains. Adam Soukup’s experience is that musicians make good pilots and flying is something they own, in a way. He believes flying and music go well together. “Herbert von Karajan was a pilot and owned an airplane. I have several colleagues who are former professional musicians.” Why is that? “When you make music from an early age, or more precisely, if you play a musical instrument, you will learn concentration very well. That comes in handy when flying and airplane,” he explains, adding that airplanes are controlled by very gentle, slow, and fluid movements. “This is where you find the feel in your hands, which you develop by playing instruments, useful. Flying an airplane, you utilise both tactile and sonic memory. When flying at night, you may have difficulties seeing the instrument panel properly, but you will remember where the buttons are by touch. Sonic memory is good when you are flying and an air controller speaks to you in long, complex sentences that you have to repeat. Simply put, playing a musical instrument, you develop many things useful in flying an airplane.” Did he ever regret the decision that made him change jobs? “I feel sorry for Professor Martin Ballý who gave me an incredible amount of time and energy, both in and outside music, which I never really fulfilled or gave back. With that said, I think life is too short to do something you don’t like. I spent a lot of time playing the piano from early youth, but then I stopped enjoying it. So, I quit and went to do something else. And that’s the way it should be, I think. You shouldn’t dwell on an activity at all costs if it doesn’t fulfil you, only because you have spent some time doing it before. The only result of that would be that you won’t be happy. In addition, the quality of your performance suffers when you do something you don’t enjoy. And that’s not good for you or anyone around you,” concludes Adam Soukup.