Why do you do what you do?
Obligation? Fear? Trying to make up for the deficiencies in your soul?
To be praised by people and loved by man? To show them that you matter?
A squeaking cello and an old movie helped me answer this question.
For fourteen days, I had been slaving over Bach’s Minuet No. 2. Pounding the metronome and playing the notes until my head, back, and soul ached. And yet all the progress I made seemed to disappear- on the very morning of my bi-weekly lesson.
The idea of practicing anymore was sickening- but the chasm between how I played and how I wanted to play drove me on like a tyrant.
In the middle of all this, I called my mom to cancel our morning workout, deciding more cello practice was what I really needed. Before hanging up, my mom and dad reminded me to play from my heart.
As I put down the phone, I pondered the idea. Since when had I played from my heart? The last weeks of cello had been like an organized exercise in torture. Squeaky notes, calloused fingers, and that darn metronome (I think my head started to nervous-twitch in time!).
At that very moment, I hated the cello.
I had lost my love.
Flying across my memory, a picture popped into my head. I ran off to the computer and furiously typed into the search bar “Mr. Holland’s Opus Clarinet Scene”.
And there it was. Filling my heart and soul.
This simple scene of Mr. Holland, giving a student the courage to play from her heart, reminded me of why I play.
I don’t play to be perfect (like that would ever happen!).
I don’t play to please other people.
I don’t play to be loved or to be told I’m good enough.
I play because I love.
I love music, I love joy, I love beauty.
I love the sunset.
Why do you play?