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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000290.txt from 2003/10

From: (Ormondtoby Montoya)
Subj: Re: [kl] Inspiration
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2003 16:54:24 -0400

Chantelle, someone may post the opposite of what I'm going to say, but
it *! BREAKS MY HEART !* to hear a young person become so ground up
in the competitive aspects of music that he/she loses sight of the music

I notice that you have (perhaps unconsciously) combined two thoughts
that (imo) absolutely must be kept separate.

The first is "motivation". Your original message questions whether you
want to pick up your clarinet and play music. The second is "Am I good
enough to make this my career?" There's nothing unusual about
questioning one's own ability, nor is there anything unusual about
anxiety caused by competing for a job or position. But what is
terribly damaging (imo) is when the competitive anxieties become
cross-linked with your basic desire to play music.

There is a fellow on this list named Neil Leupold who will have
something to say about this (I hope). Like you, he recently debated
music as a career. Despite finally choosing a different career, he
still plays in ensembles and <I-don't-know-where-else> and he continues
to improve his skills and to tackle increasingly more demanding music,
and (so far as I know) he enjoys every minute of it.

You may be forced to make a decision about music as a career, but I pray
that you won't allow the difficulty of this decision to affect your
desire to pick up your clarinet and play. To use myself as an example,
the concept of me performing professionally is laughable. But I have
never --- and I will never --- allow my less-than-virtuoso abilities to
kill my desire to pick up my clarinet and play something, even if I need
to leave the house so that others can have some peace and quiet.

The reason why I asked you earlier "Why do you want to play music?
What's in it for you? Why not be a race car driver instead?" is
precisely that I was hoping you would look at your 'instinctual'
response to _MUSIC_ first, and then you would address the other issues
with a clearer mind. This is part-and-parcel of the question that
Christy Erickson and I were discussing in another thread. Can you
*learn* to love music? I believe not. Can you be *conditioned* to
hate it despite your inborn desire for it? Unfortunately, I believe
you can.

Don't allow this to happen to you, Chantelle.

I think that most people on this list will tell you that 'love for
music' shows through in any performance. If you love the music, let it
show through, even if you miss a note or two.

To use myself as an example again, there was one time when I missed
clarion B natural during a student recital. I felt it coming before it
happened. I knew my fingers were twisted and I knew I wasn't going to
make it.... and sure enough, I didn't make it. I got a beautiful
altissimo squawk instead. But during the fraction of a second before I
reached the B natural that I knew I was going to miss, I actually said
to myself "Jeez, I love this tune! Let's hear it!" I had left my tape
recorder running in my chair, and afterwards, when I listened to the
tape, I had to admit to myself that it was good music despite the
bungled note. My feelings about the tune _had_ come through my horn.
"Yeh," my daughter said when I mentioned it, "but someone yelled
'Bravo!' after you finished, and it wasn't Jocelyn." (who was my

That's the feeling that I hope you can have, Chantelle. Keep the
career anxiety in its place.

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