Thursday, March 25, 2010

Human Error.

Today, I got excited because I was annoyed at myself for playing a wrong note. Although this may seem like an insane thought process.. okay I can't really justify that it's not. Although this is a very strange thought process, it seems to be a necessary one. In the past month or so, my admiration and respect for professional musicians has sky rocketed. They have a level of skill and concentration that I never thought possible. Until now, in a band situation, it's all been about getting the right notes. We would spend moths, sometimes a year, just trying to have everyone in the ensemble playing what's written on the page. In university, not only are you expected to know your part back the front and sideways before the first rehearsal, but you're expected to play it well. Of course, it's not really a click your fingers and BAM process for first years. Definitely not. For (the majority of) first years, playing a piece with no wrong notes is more of a blessing than an expectation.

This has got me thinking a lot about human error. As we all learned from Carla in "Scrubs", we're all human, and we all make mistakes. This being the case, why do we not allow for this human error? Why do customers get angry at waiting staff for getting their order wrong? Why do we write essays to be graded on their accuracy? Why are we expected to be on time? Why do we aim for perfection, when it's clearly not attainable? Why do musicians spend hours, days, weeks, months, practicing and perfecting, well aware of the impossibility of their expectations of perfection becoming reality? (this, of course, being the case for most professions). It's because we all want what we can't have. Like when you're a kid and you have straight hair, you want it to be curly and visa versa. One of the errors of humans is our desire to achieve the unachievable, to have the inaccessible. Musicians are just unlucky enough to have an unbarringly strong desire to achieve the impossible, and achieve it well. This being the case however, although this unachievable level of accuracy is the aim, it should not be the expectation. It's all well and good to aim above your potential, as long as you don't expect to get there. Why, then, do we expect each other to get there? By putting the pressure on others, we are also putting it on ourselves. The human error of not allowing for human error.

In conclusion, I cannot express how relieved I am that I'm not in the same situation as the majority of my fellow ensemble members. I don't think I could handle the pressure of being a professional musician. I'm so glad I found music therapy :)