As I’ve thought about venturing back into the writing and research world and what I might want to talk about on the website, I keep coming back to the idea of an authentic musician vs a perfect performer. I hear so many of my students and fellow performers talk about how they are working on “perfecting” a piece. My students get so anxious about performing a piece perfectly. And while it's possible that generations of musicians and music teachers may have meant well in holding the up-and-coming musicians to high standards, I think perfection is unrealistic and often harmful.
Much of traditional classical musical training revolves around putting certain musicians and composers on pedestals as examples of greatness to strive toward. Vocalist are told they will only "make it" if they have big booming voices and can sing on stages like The Metropolitan Opera. While singing on this stage carries a great deal of prestige, it is not the only way to measure success.
It is time to encourage musicians to embrace their authentic sound and find their own path for success. While some changes in higher educational curriculum now open up musicians to non-classical paths, such as music industry studies or contemporary music studies, we still have a way to go in encouraging a broader approach to performance and individual instrument study.
We have a lot of specific thoughts about this and are excited to launch this new series: The Authentic Musician. We hope you'll engage with us and share your thoughts on this topic. Furthermore, we hope to influence future musicians to embrace their authentic sound and path.