A Talented Young Violinist Talks About Mental Health & Changing Career Focus from Music
I heard this podcast episode played on the radio today, and I recognized the name of a violinist that I remember soloing with The Aurora Symphony, playing a really stunning rendition of Saint Saens 3, when I was a goofball in the 1st violin section about 13 years ago.
It's a really interesting talk about someone that works incredibly hard and then deals with really challenging performance anxiety, dissociation and the perfectionism and other factors that surround it. I think it's an interesting listen that young students, parents and many others can probably find some resonance with.
I believe she was a student of James Maurer, who was Laurie's teacher (IIRC). Of all the students that soloed with the orchestra while I was there, she seemed to have "it".
I guess you never know what people are going through, and it's cool to hear that she seems to be thriving and finding ways to integrate the various selves she has been, is, and might be; Not all precocious players seem to get through their existential chasms.
Interesting... How generous of her to share her journey.
In general, motivation has 4 elements. It is probably helpful to get objective opinions and to introspect to determine which one or more of these apply to any individual.
I think at play for Natalie (the violinist) was a more existential concern that presupposes any of the elements that you listed, Sander.
Christian: Yes, good point. I just think that those philosophical and spiritual values can be listed under "inner drive." However, yes, there is an sense of meaningfulness that is an overarching issue.
One does not pursue art as a career for monetary remuneration. However, it is increasingly difficulty to even perform professionally. This seems to be what Natalie discovered. She studies for years, pract7ces, etc. Her audition for a concerto competition at Harvard goes very well. However, she did not win. I assume she took this to mean that she does not have enough skill to make a career of music. The standards are so high for the dwindling number of positions.
Professional artists obviously require patrons in order to afford to live. The technology and business model for commercial music (of any genre, including classical), due to recordings and mass media etc, concentrate attention and rewards on a tiny set of superstars, leaving most other highly skilled musicians to scramble for gigs and find students. Of course the rest of us, who in pre-electricity days would have been satisfied and beloved porch musicians, are now intimidated out of even trying to learn, since the ubiquitous superstar level comes through every soundspeaker everywhere, and of course "I could never do that." I've observed for decades a perfectionism in classical music culture that contrasts greatly with the live music culture of the Grateful Dead scene where I spent my formative years, accepting that some nights are better than others and live musicians are always better than reference recordings.
I think that there is a large missing middle in the world of classical music. It's nice that Natalie seems to still play and finds opportunities to connect and make music. I wonder how much of that is classical and how much is more pop oriented or in other traditions like bluegrass; it would be great to have more organizing of music-making for the very talented that don't decide to try and make pro careers in music.
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