Highest Rated Comments

MainlyMozartSD327 karma

This is a question that has fascinated the deepest thinkers from the earliest times. Pythagoras, Aristotle and many others all wrote about the power and purpose of music. It is the organisation of sound at it’s most primary level. But it speaks to an inner part of us that is both with and beyond our intellects. Every culture in history has a powerful and identifiable relationship to their music. For me, today, music and particularly classical music (in its broadest definition) teach us empathy. We get to ‘feel’ what it was like to live under Stalin through Shostakovich’s symphonies, we sense Beethoven’s perserverance through deafness and the French revolutionary aftermath, it creates conversation with the previous generations across cultures and centuries. We learn about ourselves and learn to empathise about the lives of others around us. It connects us to so much in an immediate way that no other ‘thing’ can do. There is so much to this superb question.

MainlyMozartSD305 karma

This is a great question which could be discussed for hours. But to try to put it succinctly: my own programming model which I've used with my Montclair Orchestra is to bring together pieces from different periods, but the key is to have a connective thread. For example, for a concert inspired by Baroque concerto grosso, we did a Brandenburg concerto, then Schnittke, then Stravinsky, and ended with another Brandenburg. Chronologically this took us from 1740's to 1977 to 1947 and then back to the 18th century, but what made it work was the thread of inspiration from Baroque forms. You could do the same with music written in 2021 and Perotin from the medieval era .... for me the key is to have a musical connection between the works, and not throwing contemporary music on programs just to check a box.

MainlyMozartSD291 karma

Concertmaster chair warmer.

MainlyMozartSD290 karma

Every week we play under him is very exciting! He is incredibly clear in his movements and beats, which I appreciate so much. His approach is incredibly elegant and focused on beautiful sound and phrasing most of the time, but I remember one concert from last year that showed me his true spectrum of leadership- Shostakovich 4th symphony. From the intense highs to the dark lows, he showed it all perfectly, so as to imagine that is how it is "supposed to be played" if that makes sense. There is a good deal of respect and trust with his working relationships as well- often he defers to musicians as to how to approach more specific details of the works which I appreciate.

MainlyMozartSD259 karma

For one, get the book "Practicing for Artistic Success" by Burton Kaplan (I was fortunate to get to work with him when I was a student at Manahattan School of Music). Learning how to practice is one of the most important aspects of your training. In my experience, my most successful students have been the ones who were the most self-motivated and engaged in their daily practicing. A teacher is with you only around an hour per week, but you are with yourself all the time! Therefore, developing the tools to become your own best teacher are imperative for success.

With that, it is important to develop good technique that is efficient and supported with good posture. Injuries do not promote training, and I went through a couple of bad tendinitis strains while a student and budding professional that I feared might be career ending (I once stopped playing for months because of an injury). It forced me to step back and completely re-evaluate my training and how I was playing. Working with a physical therapist did wonders to deepen my understanding and awareness of my technique and physicality.

Yet, no amount of technical training can imbue your playing with soul. Being inspired, whether by others in music, art, dance, spirituality, philosophy, and more, and by engaging in contemplation and examination of one's own life is to me what will distinguish the artist from the artisan. What does a piece mean to you? How does it make you feel? What are you trying to say with it? Though, words are not necessary, for it can be something beyond the descriptives of speech, and purely sensational.