Tuesday, November 20, 2007


lately I've been pondering the idea of inspiration. What is it? Where does it come from? Is it different for different people?

As this year gets closer to being over, I decided it might be a good time to look back and think about what things inspired me.

Most of these are musical things, since that's what I do, and I tend to be fairly single-minded.

In August, I got to play the Rutter Requiem with none other than John Rutter conducting. For those of you who aren't familiar with the work, it has a sizable cello solo. I don't really even like the piece, but Rutter was so into his music, and had so much energy/passion/etc., that it was really hard not to get caught up in that. As a musician, I think that I often forget about the emotional aspects of most of what I play. Yes, I have been lucky enough to largely pick my own repertoire through both of my degrees, and yes I sure do love all of the pieces that I've worked on, but after spending so much time and energy working out the hows, it's easy to lose sight of what the point is. I think that music is the best thing out there, and sometimes it takes some slightly cheesy music (like the Requiem) paired with a composer/conductor who showed us all how to be demanding, yet totally enveloped by his music to show us that you can be both exacting in execution, but still allow your heart to be in it.

The other thing that comes to mind (yes, sadly I can only think of 2 really inspiring musical things from the past year!) is the week that I spent at the Suzuki Institute. My teacher there, Dr. Beth, was/is the image of what I think good teaching is all about. I've studied with a variety of different personalities over the years, some of whom I would classify in the category of "never teach like that person ever." She helped me figure out how to put myself in the position of being a good teacher, and showing my students how to have fun while learning this very awkward, difficult instrument. nice. Prior to arriving at the Institute, I only had 7-8 students, and I wasn't feeling like my success rate was doing so hot. Each student had different weaknesses/needs (they still do), and I didn't feel as though I was really understanding how to address them. Fast-forward to now. Now, I only have maybe 2 students (out of 16) who I don't feel are achieving real success/progress. I can dig that.

So, that's that. I've been needing to remind myself of what inspires me, because for me, inspiration = motivation, and I am in need of some honest-to-goodness motivation these days.

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