I went to graduate school to study the sounds of burning pianos and squeaky rubber dolls and trash can lids. This music made people think; this music provoked discussions, This music was gutsy and political and sometimes it even required us to reconsider our definition of music.
The power of making music is found in the accretion of work and thought we put in over a lifetime, not single moments of inspiration.
There are highly visible musicians who are bravely sticking their necks out. They are not programming what the audience wants, they are programming what the audience needs. Contrast this with the classical groups that program rock or pop transcriptions and advertise it as out-of-the-box thinking.
What happens when you stop practicing under the weight of worship and start playing to see what you can add to the conversation?
I know people who have purposely worn dark colors to rehearsals because of the secret world of sweating that happens with a new work. But when in doubt about how to behave in the rehearsal room (or in meetings or when drafting emails, for that matter), always default to professionalism.
For better or worse, I have become more interested in the ways in which people think and grow than I am in their ability to reproduce subtle variations on a limited personal language, regardless of how successful that language may be.
If the Recording Academy feels that certain awards they give are not worthy of exposure on network television (which ultimately are the awards that wind up getting reported on in most of the media outlets and therefore the ones that most people are aware actually of), why give the awards in the first place?
As with any political issue, your inner Che Guevara might be telling you to organize a protest or to occupy a square on your campus. While that could be a good way to draw attention to an issue, it’s clearly not the best way to get lasting results.
It is easy to believe that we are enriching ourselves, and those around us, by becoming living content providers. But we need to supplement this presentation of material with some shading of our humanity.
There’s been a “desert island nine symphonies” game making the rounds on Facebook. (Pick nine different numbered symphonies, 1-9, by nine different composers.) Here are some American repertoire ideas.