Saturday, October 27, 2007

Control Freaks Wanted

Ever thought or yourself as being a control freak? Well, isn't that a good portion of our job description? The top orchestras are full of them. Audition committees covet them. Perfect control of our product is always the goal. It should be high on our priority list in daily practice, in every piece, in every phrase, and with every note. It includes pitch, rhythm and dynamics. Even spontaneity and flexibility of interpretation must be carefully disciplined.

By finals, all the out-of-control freaks are on their way home. Only the machines are left, and the most musical machine wins. And that is the next criterion: musical control freaks. The search is narrowed considerably by this point. Only a few seem to survive this rugged scrutiny, and only one gets the prize.

How did this amazing control get acquired? Did it get injected into the auditioner a week before the audition? How about that great musicianship? It obviously can't be suddenly ginned up. When did it start? Answer: long, long ago.

The good news: control is quite doable, but it must be a daily priority. In time, control becomes the norm, rather than luck. The odds increase for us when musicianship is nicely controlled and dependable. Life on the wicked stage becomes much less traumatic and natural. Great control of the basics produces freedom for the musical expression to flourish. Great playing isn't a freak of nature, but the wonderfully disciplined skill of a very valuable control freak.

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