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Harrisonburg, Virginia, United States
Professor of Saxophone, James Madison University

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Hidden Art of the Master

I'm currently reading the newest book by Jonah Lehrer, Imagine.  Although I haven't finished it yet, I can already heartily recommended it.  It is beautifully researched and deeply insightful.  Buy it here:

Imagine: How Creativity Works, by Jonah Lehrer

Among the book's many topics that are connected to the subject of this blog, the following excerpt from a Yo-Yo Ma interview (from The New Yorker, with David Blum in 1989) appears on pp. 86-87:

    "I knew the music inside and out.  While sitting there at the concert, playing all the notes correctly, I started to wonder, 'Why am I here?  What's at stake?  Nothing.  Not only is the audience bored but I myself am bored.'  Perfection is not very communicative . . .  If you are only worried about not making a mistake, then you will communicate nothing . . .  You will have missed the point of making music, which is to make people feel something."

It is this realization that allows us to get on with uncovering the hidden art of the master musician.  We must free ourselves from fear and allow mistakes to happen without disturbing the creative flow.  Of course, this is only possible with a prerequisite level of high achievement, but there comes a point for letting go.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately, Mr. Lehrer has confessed to fabricating some of the Bob Dylan quotes in his book. While this doesn't impact the above quotation, at least as of 7/30/12, it certainly ruins Mr. Lehrer's credibility. What a shame.