Saturday, April 28, 2012

Do you have commitment issues?

Several years ago I attended a masterclass with the legendary Evelyn Glennie. It concluded with the usual Q & A session, and that's where things got interesting. The questions that students asked ranged around the usual topics - her hearing (she's deaf), her history, favorite mallets/sticks/instruments, and the like.

Then one student asked this question, "I notice that you're still playing some of the pieces you learned in college. Don't you ever get tired of performing the same music over and over again?"

She gave the student one of those kindly, I-can't-believe-you-actually-asked-that-but-I'll-answer-it-anyway looks, and proceeded to give one of the finest discourses I've ever heard on music and commitment.

"Music is like a marriage," she began. Of course, I don't remember it word for word, but in essence she explained that good music is something worthy of your commitment. And if it was good music way back when, it should still be good music now.

She talked about how, with almost every piece she plays, she's still discovering new things about it or inventing new ways to play it and enhance her expressiveness. I'm paraphrasing, but she talked about how, while there's excitement in learning new music, there is a great pleasure and satisfaction in performing music that you are intimately familiar and comfortable with.

You can always take old music - if it's truly great music - to new places and experience it with new people.

It's an interesting take in a world where new and now are the only buzzwords you can hear.

1 comment:

  1. There is always room for improvement! I've been playing the piano for nearly 26 years and there are a lot of songs I play over and over. Not only do I find new ways to interpret these songs, but they also give me confidence when learning a new,or challenging song.


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