Sage advice from cellist Colin Carr:
- Listen with your whole soul.
- Be true to the composer in every respect.
- Be true to yourself in every respect. In great music these two have to coexist.
- Don’t play the music — too controlling — but let go enough to allow yourself to be played by it.
- Develop the perfection of the inner ear. In other words, know exactly what you want to hear before you try and play it. “Nothing has ever grown from the exterior to the interior. The interior is the basis for understanding. There is the desire, the force, the gift.” (Schnabel)
- Know the score. Its secrets are there to be discovered, often in the notes we don’t play more than the ones we repeat endlessly — and often mindlessly — when we practice. Orchestras and pianos provide harmony and rhythm for our single lines and they, more than anything we play ourselves, are what determine the subtleties of direction, emphasis, and shape. This leads to the next one….
- Practice away from the instrument. You hear better!
- In the words of the late Mr. Bill Shankly, former manager of the Liverpool football [soccer] team “Football — music — is not a matter of life and death; it’s a lot more serious than that.”
- Nothing matters and nobody cares! This is Anner Bylsma’s lesson. This is not meant in a cynical way, but more as a compliment/antidote to the previous one. It’s amazing how liberating this approach can be on the concert stage. Carefree, not careless!
- Without enthusiasm nothing genuine is accomplished in art.
- “One must be in love with the raw materials of music — single notes, chords, melodic shapes, intervals, cadences, etc. — just as a sculptor must be excited by the feeling and the possibilities of unformed clay.” — Peter Norris, Menuhin School
- Think twice, play once, instead of playing badly without having thought at all.
Full interview here.
Especially interesting for cellists.