Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Musician

 If you imagine your life as a musical instrument, and your own spirit as the musician, you quickly see that it is up to you what sort of music you wish to play. For a good musician does not confuse himself with his instrument. He does not think to himself "my violin is out of tune, therefore I am out of tune". Similarly, he does not feel limited just because his instrument is limited. Sure, the instrument makes the tones and sounds that are characteristic of that particular instrument - a piano cannot play like a trumpet. But it would be a very deluded pianist indeed, who concluded from this fact that he himself is determined by the characteristics of his instrument. For in reality the musician can play an infinite variety of melodies, to an equally infinite level of perfection, regardless of the limitations of the instrument he happens to be playing. 

In the same way, the life I am given to live does not determine the limits and destiny of my spirit.


  1. "For a good musician does not confuse himself with his instrument."

    Kenny Werner (jazz pianist) came to the same conclusion in his book Effortless Mastery. For all too many musicians take what they play or how they play personally. It is a personal endeavour, but when one has invested too much of their ego in it, the art suffers. As a professional musician (pre-covid, as I don't perform anymore), I have found it most often with less experienced players to take constructive criticism or advice personally, and as an attack on their character. The music industry, for what's left of it, is filled with narcissism and the music has been rendered rather shallow.

    To add to your post: every member of a musical group, regardless of what they play, can find a way and show their spirit regardless of their instruments limitations or role in a group. Playing even "one note" but really "playing" it... what's behind that note can be so sublime that people will feel it even if they cannot quite explain it.

    That may be a little off topic from the post

    1. Indeed, "all too many musicians take what they play or how they play personally". And when we take our life too personally, the art of living suffers too, for the same reasons.

  2. You see it with baby's who have deeply fascinating spirits but find themselves in quite the predicament in that they can hardly express themselves. It's a marvelous thing to see them grow up, finding new creative expressions, and then remembering or looking back at old videos and seeing that the same spirit was always there, working its way through.


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