September 7, 2012 at 3:48 AMOh September, one of my favorite times of year. The breeze begins to carry a crisp chill, colors slowly creep onto the New England leaves, students take over the city with their brand new books, and we scramble to figure out our football pools (New England Patriots all the way, fingers crossed). It's a new concert season, a new academic season - a new year.
Like the New Year, it’s a clean slate and a time to dive into one’s work and priorities. For me, this will mean many countless hours (some dull, some exciting) slaving away alone in a practice room, hours of rehearsal with others chipping away at the finer points of Bach and Berg, a daily dose of (sometimes) frenzied phone-calls and emails, and last but not least the hours upon hours spent in airports, on airplanes, trains, etc. As at the start of each season I always seem to say that this year will be different, that I will slow down the time and savor as much as possible, that the season won’t become just another crazed whirlwind and race to the finish line. Yet, I always seem to look up the following summer and say, “what happened to September?”
As I was dissecting a phrase in the Brahms Concerto the other day, playing it over and over, analyzing each note, its direction, its coloring, its intonation, I realized that what we musicians ultimately attempt to do on a daily basis is to convey the innermost emotions and thoughts of a composer at one set point in time to a listener listening at an unrelated point in time. To do this, we must ceaselessly work to attain a greater understanding and mastery of the music, and certainly, we take our time (years and years) to do it.
And then, it dawned upon me that I can apply this same drive for greater musical knowledge to September and beyond. Though the rat race probably won't change all that much, there will always be the crazed times, ample work, and long hours, we can attempt to go through it all with a deeper understanding, always peeling away at the layers of whatever may come up.
So, I for one resolve this season to learn more, work more, understand more, and just live more. To not just go by rote, but to scrub the daily routine, as we musicians so often do with music, and find the deeper meaning as often as possible.
Happy new season!
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