Dear #ClassicalMusic Fan,
Have you gotten goose-bumps during a concert?
When you perform, have you experienced them spine-tingling thrills, or hair-raising moments?
It is very likely you did at some point.
And when you think about it, those are the moments in live music we crave, right? Doesn’t matter if they occur in concert, in rehearsal, during a lesson, or when we’re practicing at home… we love those moments!
So how come we don’t get them as often as we’d like?
- One reason is that we think they are easy to come by.
- Another reason is that we think once we’ve experienced them we now know how to get them again, and all we have to do is repeat the steps that created them last time.
- Another reason for some is that those moments have become the ultimate goal – the purpose of live music.
- Another reason could be that we chase those moments so hard that we don’t actually allow ourselves to experience them. Musicians who are exclusively technical have that problem.
So what’s up with that?
We’ve become goosebump junkies.
There’s nothing wrong with goosebumps – they are great, wonderful, terrific and downright beautiful moments.
Much like coffee.
But too much coffee, and too much watered-down coffee, we no longer feel its effect and taste its marvelous subtle tastes. We become junkies needing more and more, with stronger artificial flavors, and eventually we need medications to help us stop twittering and shaking from too much caffeine.
Same with those musical goosebumps.
Instead of making those moments the ultimate goal, we need to make music – and the sharing of it – our ultimate goal. When we do that to the best of our ability, those goosebump moments occur more often, mean more, are much stronger, and are a pure delight.
But they are not our focus, they are not our goal, they are not ‘the reason’ for sharing live music with each other.
As Tim Keller inferred: Exuberance without discipline is futile.
Joy without effort is pointless.
We must focus on letting our music speak to the world.
When we do so together with others, the result is often a few goosebump moments. But look for and expect those moments to happen, and your music-making is worthless. Pointless. Ain’t gonna happen.
Focus on your technique, give attention to listening, exaggerate what needs to be expressed, and let your instrument (including the voice) sing.
I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about what happens when you do!
We all need help balancing our effort with our desire for pleasurable experiences. Teachers can often hint at such matters, but that’s the primary domain of coaches. A coach helps you keep things in balance, and helps you accomplish far more than you ever thought possible.
Don’t believe me?
Book a free 30-minute consultation with your favorite US-based classical music coach from the UK who’s been around the block a few times, and you’ll be pretty convinced, I’m sure:
Sign up now for a session next week: