My thoughts about music performance in this section are taken from a short interview with Gavin Carver during the filming of Andante. I was surprised to hear my own thoughts on why I do what I do--I'd never really thought about this much, but Gavin caught me in a vulnerable moment when I had just found myself thinking "What on Earth am I doing this for..."
This is probably one of the great questions asked by many young artists.
So, here are my thoughts.
We spend so many hours per day in a practice room defining small muscle control, going through analytic processes that would make most people's heads spin, and then proceed through a process of self evaluation that is more akin to self flagellation than anything really artistic. This is all coupled with the kind of discipline and focus that athletes need and use to perfect a serve, swing, or pitch. When we perform in a concert, the aim is to let all of that training reside in the background on automatic pilot so that we can then expose our emotions and soul to an audience. In the end, if we have done our jobs right, the audience will either like what we do, or not, but will have had the best possible musical experience based on the amount of time and effort we put into our communication.
Our journey is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.
For me, I started needing to have a true physical representation of what this journey felt like. I needed to literally feel the blood, feel the sweat. For better or worse, this meant that I would pack up my cello and enough supplies and shelters to keep me out on a trail for up to 6 days at a time. It turns out that schlepping double my body weight in gear around the woods, streams, and mountains of America has given me a very different perspective on musical performance. What I have realized is this--by doing what I do, I can succeed or fail in a very real way when it comes to my physical journey. By doing what I do, there may be people around to hear some cello playing, but there might not. So, I do what I do for me. The music that comes out of me during these adventures is a hodgepodge of classical repertoire, free improvisations, folk songs, heavy metal--but it is all inspired by music for aesthetic and soul's sake--not for concert proceeds, not for accolades, not for someone else.
What I do makes me feel more alive--musically as well as physically.
And perhaps at the end of the day, what I do and who I am--perhaps that will touch the life of another.