Some thoughts on the process of preparing a concerto performance.
After the buzz of a concerto performance, it is important to take a little time to reflect on the journey that get us to that moment.
Being a violinist can be a lonely and solitary existence.
No one is with us in the practice room. There is no witness to that Sisyphean task of commitment, dedication, perseverance and self-discovery. No one else hears the feeling of building a piece of music, one brick at a time. No one feels the frustration like you do, when your bricks of yesterday have fallen down and today’s job is shovelling from the very beginning again. No one feels the excitement when the bricks fit in easily, when the ideas flow, when the music sings, when satisfaction overrides dissatisfaction. And no one hears a creative mind struggle to be creative when creativity runs out. When the bricks are heavy and they don’t fit. When, try as you do to be inventive and resourceful and determined, nothing seems to work.
In my case, I have found this to happen when you get home after a full day of teaching and try to start practising. To go from inspiring children to inspiring yourself can be a difficult transition. To have ready patience with other people but then to struggle to be patient with yourself in zoning out from “work mode” before channelling a new energy to achieve what you want to achieve in your own level of playing can be a big challenge. But it can be found and a happy balance between all these elements in a musician’s life does exist. Find that inner stability. Keep going, keep listening, keep analysing, keep trying to practice effectively and strive for the best that you want to be. And never lose sight of that. For even if you cannot hear it, the piece will be growing and taking shape. It might be inaudible and go without recognition, but the music begins to take on its own character, it begins, in tiny perceptions, to emerge with details, colours.
That is what to me, what I have discovered or rather, re-discovered about being a musician. The concerts that we musicians give bring so many wonderful things to the world. The music we create can trigger so much, it offers a bridge to the past and a vision to the future, it makes people think, gives people new confidences or new contemplations. It offers them a time to reflect or a time to look for a new direction in their lives. Or simply, it is gives enjoyment. These reasons matter to me. They are the fundamental reason of why I play the violin, why I am a musician and why I want to keep giving concerts and reaching new audiences. But it is also important to acknowledge the journey that get us to that moment, to bring to light all the cogs and mechanisms behind the notes, to reflect on not only the positive feeling at the end of a concert but the myriad of emotion that gets us to that level of musicianship. For that process helps us be the strongest communicators of our music.