Inspiring quote

  • MusicMan87

    Posts: 305

    Mar 16, 2009 1:25 PM GMT
    Hey guys,

    A good friend of mine sent me this excerpt because I was feeling doubtful of my decision to continue w/ my musical education because in a family of scientists, music is considered something trivial and not necessary to society.... But this uplifted my spiritsicon_smile.gif hope you guys enjoy


    Welcome address to freshman class at Boston Conservatory given by Karl Paulnack, pianist and director of the music division at Boston Conservatory:

    "One of my parents' deepest fears, I suspect, is that society would not properly value me as a musician, that I wouldn't be appreciated. I had very good grades in high school, I was good in science and math, and they imagined that as a doctor or a research chemist or an engineer, I might be more appreciated than I would be as a musician. I still remember my mother's remark when I announced my decision to apply to music school-she said, "You're WASTING your SAT scores." On some level, I think, my parents were not sure themselves what the value of music was, what its purpose was. And they LOVED music, they listened to classical music all the time. They just weren't really clear about its function. So let me talk about that a little bit, because we live in a society that puts music in the "arts and entertainment" section of the newspaper, and serious music, the kind your kids are about to engage in, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with entertainment, in fact it's the opposite of entertainment. Let me talk a little bit about music, and how it works.

    The first people to understand how music really works were the ancient Greeks. And this is going to fascinate you; the Greeks said that music and astronomy were two sides of the same coin. Astronomy was seen as the study of relationships between observable, permanent, external objects, and music was seen as the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects. Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us. Let me give you some examples of how this works.

    One of the most profound musical compositions of all time is the Quartet for the End of Time written by French composer Olivier Messiaen in 1940. Messiaen was 31 years old when France entered the war against NaziGermany. He was captured by the Germans in June of 1940, sent across Germany in a cattle car and imprisoned in a concentration camp.

    He was fortunate to find a sympathetic prison guard who gave him paper and a place to compose. There were three other musicians in the camp, a cellist, a violinist, and a clarinetist, and Messiaen wrote his quartet with these specific players in mind. It was performed in January 1941 for four thousand prisoners and guards in the prison camp. Today it is one of the most famous masterworks in the repertoire.

    Given what we have since learned about life in the concentration camps, why would anyone in his right mind waste time and energy writing or playing music? There was barely enough energy on a good day to find food and water, to avoid a beating, to stay warm, to escape torture-why would anyone bother with music? And yet-from the camps, we have poetry, we have music, we have visual art; it wasn't just this one fanatic, Messiaen; many, many people created art. Why? Well, in a place where people are only focused on survival, on the bare necessities, the obvious conclusion is that art must be, somehow, essential for life. The camps were without money, without hope, without commerce, without recreation, without basic respect, but they were not without art. Art is part of survival; art is part of the human spirit, an unquenchable expression of who we are. Art is one of the ways in which we say, "I am alive, and my life has meaning."

    On September 12, 2001 I was a resident of Manhattan. That morning I reached a new understanding of my art and its relationship to the world. I sat down at the piano that morning at 10 AM to practice as was my daily routine; I did it by force of habit, without thinking about it. I lifted the cover on the keyboard, and opened my music, and put my hands on the keys and took my hands off the keys. And I sat there and thought, does this even matter? Isn't this completely irrelevant? Playing the piano right now, given what happened in this city yesterday, seems silly, absurd, irreverent, pointless. Why am I here? What place has a musician in this moment in time? Who needs a piano player right now? I was completely lost.

    And then I, along with the rest of New York, went through the journey of getting through that week. I did not play the piano that day, and in fact I contemplated briefly whether I would ever want to play the piano again. And then I observed how we got through the day. At least in my neighborhood, we didn't shoot hoops or play Scrabble. We didn't play cards to pass the time, we didn't watch
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    Mar 16, 2009 1:39 PM GMT
    Music is a part of every society. It can be trivial, it can be anything! Play on MusicMan87.

  • Sayrnas

    Posts: 847

    Mar 16, 2009 6:14 PM GMT
    Agreed! You rox my socks Musicman!
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    Mar 16, 2009 7:01 PM GMT
    Young man, follow your heart. If it is music, then by God its music!

    My academic pursuits were politics, history, business and the law and I have to have music in my life or I would go stark raving mad.

    I sang in choir in high school and junior college, but I have the greatest admiration for those who could play an instrument(s). The mastery, the dedication and all that practice and they do it because they are following their hearts.

    I watch and listen to the likes of Izack Perleman and Joshua Bell and I am in awe. I am glad they followed their hearts.

    I listen closely to the great composers of the Romantic period and I am in awe. Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, etc and I am glad they followed their hearts.

    I love classic rock and roll and the artistry that went into that music is absolutely amazing. And why? Because the artists followed their hearts.

    At your tender age I know it is hard not to be concerned about what others think, especially your family, but you are an individual, blessed with certain talents and abilities and to do anything else than what you were meant to do will cause nothing but misery.

    And lastly, just follow your heart.
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    Mar 16, 2009 7:47 PM GMT
    I have to say a few things about this. The son of a good friend of mine just graduated from BC. She sent me this address a while ago. Most of the great scientists I've known and read of regard music as essential.
    A very good friend of mine (a genetic researcher who did work on the human genome project amongst other things) is a brilliant keyboard musician, an incredible music director, and vocal coach.
    Another is an MD whose knowledge of music is incredible. Another, a physicist and singer.
    It has been my experience that the most innovative, and highly regarded scientists in all areas, have always been intimately involved with music and/or other creative arts.

    Music is no less important to us as sentient living creative entities, than any other task. It is only the sometimes arbitrary value that is placed on it by one group or another.

    You've chosen a noble, important, difficult, and essential profession.
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    Mar 16, 2009 8:07 PM GMT
    Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.

    Lifesabitch, then you die.

    Or life's a bitch, then you wed one, then you die.

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    Mar 16, 2009 8:12 PM GMT
    art and science are interconnected - they feed off each other. don't fear your choice. you will never regret being an artist, if you are true to your own voice.
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    Mar 16, 2009 8:20 PM GMT
    MusicMan87 said in a family of scientists, music is considered something trivial and not necessary to society.... But this uplifted my spirits

    Our thanks to you musicians for helping to uplift all of us in every profession and walk of life.

    "Du holde Kunst in wieviel grauen Stunden ..
    Hast mich in eine bessre Welt entruckt." Schubert, An Die Musik.
  • MusicMan87

    Posts: 305

    Mar 16, 2009 9:34 PM GMT
    thanks guys icon_smile.gif you make the hours alone in the practice room worth it! go out and support the arts!

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    Mar 17, 2009 5:02 PM GMT
    that made me burst out laughing it was so beautiful. his face is almost as evocative as his fingers