Recently, I was re-reading a short interview from the Juilliard Journal with Dan Druckman. Dan was
(and still is) chair of the percussion department and director of the percussion ensemble at "the yard" and is just simply one of the finest musicians I ever had the chance to work with. I was lucky to play in his group and have the chance to take a handful of lessons with him during my college years.
In the article, Dan said that he wants his students to do whatever is necessary to be prepared on stage
Somehow, reading this now, where I am in my own career, really resonated with me.
This sense of doing what is necessary, with the underlying subtext being ( no matter what) is often missing from today's teaching.
I can assure you, I did not always feel like I was in "a safe place" in Dan's rehearsals, or in Jonathan's rehearsals, or in Abel's lessons - but those experiences sure did drive me to do what was necessary to be prepared. I would practice when I was tired, or it was late, or I was hungry, or whatever....I did what was necessary.
As students, you aren't always going to feel good about what you are doing - hell you may even really dislike your teacher or ensemble director for a period. I certainly had negative thoughts about my teachers/conductors.
At the risk of sounding like the old man yelling at kids on his lawn - the job of a teacher isn't always to make you feel good (!!!!). I do think about my students well-being ( often more then my own teachers did) but at the end of the day my job is to prepare you for a VERY challenging profession. playing in an orchestra, working as a chamber musician, teaching at the college level - these are difficult and rewarding professions - you have to be ready to make it happen.
I didn't always do what was necessary, but when I did, each time it produced a performance that I still remember to this day.
Students - if you are serious about this - Do what is necessary. Practice at night, in the early AM, when you are sick, when you are "sad". Study scores, go to concerts, network - do, what is necessary.
This blog is regularly updated with my thoughts, opinions and views. They are mine alone.