Mozart’s music was often commissioned. Meaning, he wrote for a specific performer to play. He would learn their preferences and then craft a tailor-made piece to allow that performer to shine.
Over time, this piece becomes the standard that all others are required to play. Why are we judging ourselves on our ability to play notes that are not even written for our own hands?
Must we follow rules that were created for a reality much different from the one we face today?
The Performer aims to just hit the right notes. The Artist, however, aims to change lives. Who will we be on the stage of life?
We have removed our humanity from the very systems we invented. Disregarding our emotions for the sake of efficiency, our lives are dictated by terms of measurement that do not serve the soul. We boast of how much we have worked, but speak little of the impact from that work.
Let us never forget that our greatest value can never be measured with numbers.
The Conductor stands on the podium so that they may see others clearly. In life, are we using the podium to understand others or to appear greater than others?
We often think that to listen to those we disagree with means we will have lost. But why are we trying to defeat the same people who we are meant to lead?
Let us not shut out ears to the sounds which offend us. No, let us listen closer so that we may learn about ourselves.
The classical musician’s nightmare is to lose the sheet music. We fear that if we lose the plan, then we cannot possibly play without it.
The plans that were meant to give us comfort become our greatest source of anxiety. Our own notes leave us unable to hear the beauty of the music thats not written on the page.
Let us seek certainty not from the world around us, but in the resilience of our own mind.
The performer who’s threatened by all opposition, lives a life of self-inflicted anxiety. They spend their days fighting against foes of their own creation. They spend their lives fighting against beauty, simply because they did not create it. Is it really that we want to bring new music into the world? Or, do we only want our music in the world?
The Composer’s work means nothing until they hand it off for another to play. So we must ask, how do we want people to change after they have played our music?
To compose is to revise. So in life, why do we stick to our first draft and glorify the choices we made years ago? It is as if we owe a debt to our past self, and so we spend our lives protecting a person who no longer exists.
To avoid being wrong is to avoid our own wisdom. Perhaps we avoid our wisdom because wisdom is work. Knowing something means having to change something. So we must ask, why do we desire so deeply for our music to be finished?
The performer is measured not by who they play with, but by what they bring to the stage. We cannot create harmony with others if we have not yet made harmony on our own instrument.
It may be selfish to turn inward, but it’s also selfish to ask others to fill our own voids in life, or to ask others to support our desires when we have done nothing to support them ourselves. The greatest act of selfishness is self-avoidance.
Are we seeking just to be heard or to create something that is actually worth hearing?
We’d laugh at the performer who believed that they couldonly play one piece of music. They wouldn’t lose their ability to play if the music changed. They would just apply their skills in a new way.
In life, we can get so tied to our one way of operating, that we struggle to see how we might thrive in another context.
Courage is not just jumping into the unknown. It’s the result of learning to exist in a variety of circumstances so that we are not dependent on one. Courage is preparation.
The red pen we use on ourselves is a double-edged sword. It is a powerful tool to help us improve, but it becomes a weapon when we use it on parts of ourselves that we cannot change.
The performer who can only notice the worst parts of their music is just as delusional as the performer who can notice no flaw. For what does it mean if we create a masterpiece that we aren’t even able to hear?
What it perfection is simply the fuel to power our journey and not the end destination?
Every masterpiece begins with delusion…when someone dares to believe in something that is not present in their current reality.
What we call reality is not some fixed or constant state. It is constantly changing and expanding as we experiment and learn over time. The world we know is merely a spec of what’s possible.
Therefore, when we disregard our ideas without testing them, this is not just an act of self doubt. No, perhaps this is the greatest act of arrogance.
As performers on stage, we give much of our energy to anticipating the thoughts of those who are watching from the audience. We must remember, however, that those sitting in the audience often cannot see the notes of the music we are actually trying to play. Why are we are changing our music for people who do not even understand what we are aiming to accomplish?
In life, are we seeking acceptance from anyone who hears our music or from those who truly understand our intentions?
Life often hands us music that is not fair. But let us not use our circumstances as an excuse to not examine ourselves. Let us ask: who will we become after playing these difficult notes?
The performer who seeks only comfort guarantees their own exposé. For one day they will be forced to face a piece of music from which they cannot hide. Let us not hope for our music to become easier, let us hope only for the ability to play it.
We have a deep desire for our sounds to be heard, but we do not want people to think critically about the sounds they are hearing. It is as if we are hiding from the same exact crowd we want acceptance from. Are we seeking applause for who we are or for who we desire to be?
In life, we often avoid those who will give us honest feedback. Perhaps we are terrified that they might simply vocalize a truth about ourselves that we already know. What if progress is just our ability to not lie to ourselves?
The Teacher’s greatest strength is their capacity to understand the challenges that the student faces. Their duty is to come closer to the student’s experience, not further away.
In both music and life, sometimes the best performers make the worst teachers. They struggle to comprehend the imperfections of anyone who is not currently on their superior level. Let us not use another’s imperfection as an excuse to avoid examining ourselves.
Why do we not play? Perhaps we’re scared that if we give everything and fall short then we will be left with nothing. So, we give only 80%, keeping 20% stored away so that part of us will remain unblemished. Perhaps our inaction is just our best attempt at holding on to that last little piece of hope.
Every composition starts with delusion. But this is just the starting point, not the end. Our crazy Ideas are only as useful as our willingness to have them proved wrong. Do we prefer the fantasy in our mind more than reality itself?