Taking responsibility

As this article says it

I remember reading a couple articles about Rachel Barton Pine and Joshua Bell that relate to this.

The first was an article about Pine that mentioned her performing one time with a gauze-wrapped bloody foot. The second — which I can’t find — was about Bell performing with a case of food poisoning that had him running off stage after he took his bows and ralphing into a wastebasket.*

You can bet neither of them felt “inspired” — at least not in the traditional sense — while performing. Yet in both cases, reviewers and audience members glowed about their stunning performances.

Being a Professional-with-a-capital-P doesn’t mean you aren’t inspired when you play. It means you don’t have the luxury of waiting to be Inspired before going out there and inspiring others. And your stage demeanor is part of that. Amateurs can wait for the Muse to strike, and pout and sulk and act bored if it doesn’t. Professionals go out and get their Muse, sit it down next to them, and play. And if it’s not there, they play anyhow — and smile in the meantime — and eventually the Muse shows up.

That’s “taking responsibility.” Sure, whatever you’re playing may not inspire everyone in the audience. A piece that one person is in rapture over may leave another cold. But you get the hell out there and take responsibility for it. Or else you stay at home and play in your room for your own amusement, and find another way to make a living. That’s not a bad thing inherently. There’s lots of amateur musicians who play to make themselves happy. Shit, I do. But when the time comes to hang my shingle and put my own music out there, I will take responsibility for it. One person may love it, another not. Oh, well.

* BTW, don’t google “joshua bell vomit.” You won’t find it. But the fact that someone somewhere (me) was busily googling away on “joshua bell vomit,” “joshua bell puke,” and “joshua bell food poisoning” amuses me no end. Hi, Joshua! How ya feeling? 😀

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