Play As If It's The Last Time

As a musician, I realized early on that what I do is different.

I'm thankful to have traveled the world sharing music with people and share precious memories with people who hold dear to me. 

One memorable experience I have is with the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra many years ago.

We went on tour at the end of our inaugural season to the Netherlands presenting Mahler's 2nd Symphony, and Strauss's Ein Heldenleben in towns like Maastricht, Haarlem, and Rotterdam. Our last performance, however, was in no other place than at the Royal Concertgebouw. 

Playing that concert was a surreal experience. 

We performed for a sold out crowd and in the end we were treated with a standing ovation by the audience. 

The orchestra had an encore ready to play, and our conductor, Benjamin Zander, had us perform a movement from Elgar's Enigma Variations; specifically,  "Nimrod". 

The moment the first violin section introduced the theme, I felt this indescribable feeling between my stand partner, my colleagues in the orchestra, and the people in the audience. I felt the presence of the bass section that was located on the opposite side of the stage, right next to me. I felt the woodwinds breath. Together, we made a rich, and organic orchestral sound. 

The orchestra played as one organism. We moved the same, we breathed the same, and musically, we acknowledged whoever had the leading melody to let them shine. This as all after playing an hour and a half Mahler symphony. 

All of us were focused; giving it all that we have as if there's no tomorrow.

Back then, I didn't know when would be the next time I'd play in the Concertgebouw.

None of us did.

Make the most of every moment. Make the most of the music you're performing and play it as if you won't live to play another note. Don't worry about the technique, that's stuff you can sort out in the practice room. Every single note, played with purpose, with meaning, with integrity. 

Think about the message you want to say in your performances, and do that.

Every Time

 

"To play a wrong note is insignificant, to play without passion is inexcusable"
- Ludwig van Beethoven

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