Friday, December 17, 2010

The Whole Picture

I have found one of the hardest things for me to do as a musician is to convey meaning to my audience through my playing.  I can have a storyline running through my mind as I play, but that seems to get lost in translation between me and my audience.  Last night I had a fantastic conversation with my friend Kelly Artz who is a finm director.  She asked me to play something for her and then told me what she got from that was not really what I had in mind at all. 

When making a movie, the term "extras" is not an accurate description for the actors on set with no lines.  Each one of them has a purpose, a backstory, a reason for being there.  No one is extra.  Each note, movement, phrase, is important and needs to be treated as such. 

Sometimes it is easy to look only at the big picture and forget about all of the small details.  This is dangerous.  You can easily loose perspective.  Not only is each note important, but everything that went into the composition is important: the movments, their titles, the tempos given or not given by the composer, who was the composer, when did they write it, what was happening in history at the time, what was happening in the composer's life at the time, who was it written for?  Every detail is important to understand in order to convey the essence of a piece to your audience.  After I graduate I will also be trying to find a way to have access to a music library of sorts so I can research these details.

I have been so focused on the big picture items (tone, vibrato, intonation...) that my playing is not capturing people's imaginations as I hoped it would be.  This is difficult for me, because even when I listen to recordings of myself, I still hear some of the storyline that I feel even though others don't.  Having the objectivity to distance myself is a skill that I desperately need to work on. 

On a different track, practing at night still sucks.  I have maybe an hour of focus and otherwise I am not putting in beneficial practice, but probably detrimental practice.  This will be something that takes more time than I originally thought. 

My goals for this week are to practice a little more each evening, to make more recordings of myself, do some reasearch about the composers I am working with and really flesh out storylines for the music I am working on.

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