To my students who came and played, to my studio parents who brought their children to play; to the grandmothers and grandfathers who came to listen and take an interest:
Thank you so much for yesterday!
Your performances were brave.
Most of you had practised very hard for this concert. Some of you sparkled brightly, indeed! Thank you for standing on our stage and giving your best.
To those of you who were disappointed in your own performances:
My dears, not every performance will go well. One needs to experience those other ones, too.
Three of my students were experiencing a brand-new situation, and in the light of that, even if you may have felt you could have played better otherwise, you still did well. It made you resilient.
Some of our most advanced students weren’t present. This is simply due to timing, and the increasingly crazy pace in which our lives are progressing. We missed your performances, and would like you, and also all who did perform and did come to listen, to consider this.
We, the dreamers and musicians, are the last bastion of sanity in a world gone crazy.
As each of my young performers knows: When you pick up your instrument, whether violin, guitar or whatever it is you are playing, you enter another world. You move through a magic portal into a strange reality where everything fades into the background while issues such as sound, intonation and expression become as central to your life as breathing. For thirty or ninety minutes, you are shielded from the stresses and desperation of modern life, and immersed only in music.
It can be compared to diving along a coral reef. To exploring alien planets. To walking in the mountains or drifting on a quest of discovery through a magical rain forest. All these take considerable resources; playing music only takes you and your instrument.
Music is the language of the soul. Musicians know this; and those who foster young musicians, know that it is an incredibly important part of life.
In allowing your child – or yourself – to play a musical instrument, you are allowing them / yourself a daily reprieve from stress.
The Studio Concerts are not about excellence. Well, of course they are! But they are not only about excellence. They are a learning experience, both for the students and the audience. Learning how to take time out, do something beyond TV and school sport, reconnect with our culture; and learning how to perform without fear, how to act on (and off, and behind) the stage, how to cope with the unexpected (in one of the rehearsals, a door slammed shut, and three of us nearly jumped out of our skin); how to move, how to dress, how to be a complete person again. From the youngest “Twinkler” who bravely stands and scrubs notes out of his violin, to the advanced who worry about whether the phrasing is right – all are onstage to learn.
Later in life, perhaps some of us will be standing on “real” stages performing “real” concerts… hopefully with the same braveness and self-assurance they learnt on our stage. Perhaps we will be providing the entertainment at a corporate function, or the music people dance to at a wedding – the music that will make people cry during the ceremony… perhaps we will be in an orchestra playing film music for a new movie, or rehashing film music of an old movie… or perhaps we will simply play for our own pleasure.
To paraphrase Gene Wilder in “Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory” (the older version of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl): “We are the Music Makers, and we are the Dreamers of Dreams.”
So – take a bow, give yourselves a hand; thank you for playing!