“Giving a speech isn’t like performing a musical instrument; it doesn’t have to be perfect.”
I heard this in my college speech class, and it didn’t sit right. I had been to musical performances that hadn’t been perfect, but they were still successful.
That’s when I decided that music actually is very much like speech. Music is not about perfection; it’s about communication. It's about conveying some kind of impression, some strand of beauty, to the hearer. Now, a perfect performance is perfectly communicated, but a flawed one can still convey something worthwhile to its listeners.
A corollary of this idea has to do with writing new music. There have been and continue to be brilliant composers. What could anyone not counted in that number have to offer to the world?
Well, music is not just about brilliance; it’s also about sharing. Yes, there are amazingly skillful musicians in the world, but they can’t personally share their interpretations with my friends in my living room. Ninety-nine percent won’t even come to my county. There is a strong poetic undercurrent to composing and songwriting that can only flow from local experience. Crafting from that experience, the best creators will get international acclaim - but the more modest ones can at least bless their neighbors.
It’s not humility to keep artistic skill to yourself when you’re just afraid you won’t look as good as the best. Even a modest skill can bring something life-enriching to others.
Pursue perfection - dig for brilliance - but don’t be afraid to share along the way.
Thank you to Igor Longhi for including "Virginius Island" on your playlist!
Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash