So, have you made any New Year’s resolutions? And if so, how’s it going? Managed to keep them so far? I’m happy to report that mine is doing pretty well, 4 days in. I decided to do as I advise all my viola and violin students to do – practice every day! As part of the deal I made with myself, any amount of time spent practicing will count – no doubt there will be days when 5 minutes is all I can manage, but there will also be days when I spend a decent amount of time alone with my instrument, doing what I love to do – getting ready to make music with other people.
If you think of a symphony orchestra performing, you can imagine that they will have spent many hours together, rehearsing with their conductor, getting to know the piece, getting used to each other, doing their best to realize the conductor’s vision of the music. But besides the hours spent together, there are numerous hours that each person has spent on their own. First of all learning their instrument, and then improving their skills and also just “keeping their chops in” – in the same way that an athlete must train every day to stay on top of their form.
And I think this is one of the things you can sense when you go to a live performance – the collective time and dedication from so many people that has gone in to creating that ephemeral moment in time.
So, if you play or sing – keep practicing! And if you don’t play or sing yourself, keep coming to concerts and immersing yourself in the extraordinary power of live music.