Monday, May 04, 2009

The making of greatness: PSO

I've been working with a student, steadily introducing him to the ways of our chosen profession.  And like many others who are learning their trade, it is turning into a steady stream of work for him to learn the foundations that his success will be built on.  And as I was listening to Mozart Concert No. 24 in C minor for Piano and Orchestra I was thinking of that.  The piano reminded me of the diligent student, engrossed in the details and intricacies of his work, while the orchestra seemed to be the friends at play.

David Brooks in the New York Times had a column on "Genius" earlier in the week.  And he is writing about this, of how the mastery of the art was reached through repetitive and deliberative work, specifically talking about Mozart.  While I can see why the romantic idea of genius as something genetic is appealing, I never felt the idea of Athena springing forth mature from the head of Zeus to be something to strive for.  And how especially true it must be for music.  Writing this now, I still have an image of Bronfman playing completely focused.  Or our marathoners this weekend, most of whom should have started their training while there was still snow on the ground, pounding pavement in the cold and the dark, knowing that this weekend would come.  So much of our trade is built on many hours of building up the foundation that enables us to make something great.
[Note:  Originally posted to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra]

There are many areas where years of training and exercise build into performance on the stage of life.  It is true is music, running, mathematics.  It can be seen in the firefighters I work with responding to fires, the police officer who brings everything they know to every contact with a citizen, and to the soldier and marine who must bring all they know when they talk to a villager, patrol a mountain, build a building, or engage an enemy.  And all this training and exercise is meant for they day that we go on stage, take to the field, or explore an unknown.

I was talking after the concert to one of the PSO staff who asked me if I was the one who went to Afghanistan.  Because her Marine brother was preparing for deployment.  And in addition to all the preparation and training that has come before and he is doing know, the family is preparing as well.  I do not know if he has deployed to war before, but either way, everything he knows in dealing with people will come into play, their motivations, their desires, and how to deal with them.  Semper fi.

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