I want to be objective, patient, and somewhat ruthless in my pursuit of my art. How do I do that?
I often think about a conversation I once had with my father. It was after one of many concerts of mine he's attended over the past 15 years or so. He said, "when I see you up there, and you're playing without music, it seems like magic, because I can't imagine how you do that." And to my not-a-musician as there ever was not-a-musician as my dad is, it must seem that way, much the same way it does to me when I see a great dancer or a Cirque du Soleil acrobat - my body does not do any of these things. In fact, most of the time I feel like I'm pretty much strapped to the earth.
But it's not magic. Those performers, like myself, have spent countless hours - really long, hard, repetitive hours refining their craft until they appear almost superhuman. Just last month at the Big Apple Circus here at Lincoln Center I watched two women fold themselves into a glass box about 3 feet cubed. My brain told me that wasn't possible, but I watched it happen and I immediately wondered how long it took to learn how to do that. The same carries for any number of endeavors: professional sports, Olympic-level ice skating or gymnastics, almost anything where talented people are doing things for other people. At the heart of it is the work, and we almost never see it. The outcome often almost appears as if out of thin air.
But it didn't. Whether it's Lebron James, Tiger Woods (in his prime), Joshua Bell, or anyone who excels under public pressure, every person who is consistently on top of their game is working hard to make that happen. I'm fascinated by how people achieve high-level performance and try to emulate that at every opportunity. I just wish more people would show their work. I get that in situations where big money is on the line i.e professional sports (I'm a fan, can you tell?) you don't want to give away your secrets. In other lines of work, I hope the trend continues toward more exposure of the "process". I can see it happening in fields like cooking and fashion (obviously reality television helps - I for sure would not have known about what "sous-vide" or "empire waist" was if not for Top Chef and Project Runway, respectively). I'd like to see more of it in my business as well.
To that end, I've been showing my work for a while and will continue to do so. You can find me at this link right here. Every time I practice I turn on the livestream. It's completely un-glamorous - in the morning I'm often clearly unshowered (don't judge - I have a two-year-old. You have to take it where you can get it) and I'm usually working on scales or doing reps on whatever literature I have coming up. When the stream is not live, you'll be able to watch the most recent podcast from Open G Records, or you might catch me gaming as I stream my play from my Playstation 4. It might not be much, but it's my small effort to say: this is the life of a working artist. Come check it out sometime. It's totally boring, but it's totally interesting.