Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Is There No Standard Anymore?

I've been learning a lot over the past month or so since I've moved to New York.

A lot about people, about music, about myself, life, etc. Many of those lessons have come in the past 2 weeks through financial difficulty.

One of the most important ones came a few nights ago after seeing Zoe Keating & Todd Reynolds play. This lesson has actually been coming for a while & it started with me actually practicing again & actually recording some of my practice. However, the LPR show was really the catalyst of it. Meeting a lot of buskers has also been essential to this change.

I've learned that I need to hold myself to a higher standard - musically and as a person. I've accomplished a lot in the almost 7 years I've been playing cello. I have a lot to be proud of and a lot to value. I've affected and inspired and moved people in all sorts of settings. I've created music, I've learned to improvise and play different styles, I've written a solo album, which I'm going to record soon, played in orchestras, musicals, etc, etc. BUT there's a lot I haven't done ... there's still a ton I have to learn. I've met and watched so many talented people recently and there is a level of musicality and technical proficiency I have not achieved yet. I've met a lot of "amateurs" who actually have a better technique than me or are better sight-readers or whatever. They arent' quite so boasty about what they do.

So I've realized, I need to hold myself to a higher standard. I need to practice more, I need to practice better, I need to record myself all the time & all in all I need to output higher than I do now. This includes things like always showing up early & being prepared for gigs a week or two in advance (and having played my show or at least recorded it before getting up to play it). This means being able to play everything I'm doing in my sleep, with fluency and perfection. This includes developing serious chops.

On a non-musical level, this also includes aggressively booking myself at venues (open mics, coffee houses, libraries, concert halls whatever) and aggressively looking for students & aggressively promoting shows and aggressively networking & communicating with the people who communicate with me.

I've been doing a good job about some of that over the last few weeks, but I have much more. I'm taking all the right steps, but I need to take more of them & take them better. I want to have a world-class technique some day ... I want to be exceptional & push the limits ... I have many hours of practicing before I can do that. I have to push my own limits.

My ultimate goal is to reach as many people in a meaningful way with my music as possible.

Time to get to work.

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