I believe that music has to come from the heart because it defines who we are.
Isaac Stern, the American violin virtuoso, once said something about music that I would never forget. He said: “The instrument is not that important. You don’t use music to play the violin. You use the violin to play music.”
Come to think of it, we usually give emphasis to the tools of music over the art itself. We say, “I play the violin,” or “I play the piano,” or “I play the flute.” Technique is many times secondary to passion. In many cases, music is always played; not felt, or lived.
The instrument is only a vehicle of expression. It is the music that makes a statement of passion and commitment. A true artist lives within the music, and the music within the artist.
Every piece of music tells a certain story; we all know this; we’ve all been taught about this. It is not then about perfection but about communicating this story–about understanding the beauty of the world through its flaws.
Yet communication is not always easy, and it is what separates a mere musician from a true artist. Let me quote an old songwriter, Barry Manilow:
I write the songs that make the whole world sing.
I write the songs of love and special things.
I write the songs that makes the young girls cry.
I write the songs. I write the songs.
Indeed in music lies a multitude of human experience. The slow and melodious adagios bring a sense of yearning and sadness of the past. The loud and fast allegrettos can convey a battlefield with soldiers marching off to the beat of the drums. Music can make us laugh, or cry, or dance.
Music is who we are.
Not everyone has been endowed with the gift of music. Those of us who have been fortunate enough know the price of this gift–long practice hours and lots of inconveniences.
Yet, we are here. Devoted. Willing to be inconvenienced. Just so we can tell our stories.
Just so we could make the whole world sing.
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