The good, the bad, and the best things

I often find myself telling people that one of the most satisfying aspects of playing in my quartet is the comfort I get in knowing that everything that has our name attached to it comes from a place of good. And quite frankly, if that weren’t the case, I’d be out the door faster than you could say thatsnevergoingtohappen. So I often wonder how other people do it. You know, work without the best intentions.

Thoughts from the bench

In May of this year, I started experiencing numbness and tingling in my left hand, severe pain in my left shoulder. The pain was not caused by any trauma. After spending six months abstaining from playing and seeking weekly treatment from a handful of specialists, I’m still searching for an answer as to why I am in pain.

On Inspiration

In many fields, but especially music, the one theory that gets a lot of attention is the 10,000-hour rule. It basically states that it takes at least 10,000 hours of practice or study to achieve an expert level of performance. And we musicians take this to heart, because to a certain extent, it’s absolutely true. Those 10,000 hours, or 10 years, or even 20 years, or MORE, are what it takes to have a solid enough technical foundation to make it in the professional realm. But there is an aspect of music-making that the 10,000 hour rule does not necessarily take into account: Inspiration, spontaneity, creativity.

More than just the music

Just recently, I went sifting through a stack of old journals that I found in my bedroom at my parent’s house. When I say stack, I mean stack! — Those things were my means of survival in navigating through the forest of insecurity, doubt, and self consciousness that always seem to surround most vulnerable high schoolers. Most of what I wrote about is now insignificant; what I did that day, how annoying it was when my mom told me to practice, or a detailed account of my accidental interaction with the object of my affection, so I was delighted when I found these words: “When I grow up, I want to live in Chicago close to my family, and play in a string quartet”.