Since this is my first blog post, it seemed appropriate to use it to try and outline what my thoughts were about writing something on my website. In committing something like this this to the everlasting memory of the internet, the introvert in me dreads the prospect of putting my thoughts in such a public space. And yet there is also that small part of me somewhat seduced by the deliciously tempting idea that a few well-crafted words here might somehow be the means to slay all of the musical wrongs of this world... When sense prevails though, I realise that aside from the gratuitous self-indulgence of using a blog as some kind of artistic manifesto, I think it probably also goes against a rule I have in studying music that also seems appropriate here: know the genre! A blog should be a bagatelle, not a sonata. Accordingly, I’m limiting myself to a few hundred words each week with which to ruminate on something that has caught my interest. Something that – I’m presuming – interacts with my work as a conductor.
It may well be that in the process of writing this blog that I produce the odd smattering of something that’s worth your or my further consideration. However, I'm preferring to think of the half-formed thoughts and ideas that find their way onto these blog posts as the wisp of a melody hastily scribbled, then cast to the bottom of a box, at the back of a wardrobe. Perhaps it would have the potential to be turned into something if it was dug out and reused. But it could just as easily be the bad idea that, nevertheless, needed to be sounded out to be considered before it was dismissed.
And that, more generally, is something that is particularly important to me in how I think about writing. I love the written word: reading, writing, re-writing, re-reading, they all hold the potential to challenge and invigorate because writing is learning how to think. It is a continuous process of exploring ideas, feelings, the things that we hold most dear, and the things that we despise. For almost everything that I have ever written – email to essay – I find myself constantly going back and reconsidering and refining what it is I want to say. Invariably I’ve found that I only begin to get to heart of my own understanding of something when I write about it: and that is no more so the case than with music.
For those of us who have the privilege to work with music each day I think it’s essential to be disciplined in how we approach our work, not only in the technique of our music making, but also in the sustenance that music making receives from our musical thinking. I'm hoping that by committing a few words here each week I can maintain some of that discipline for myself. And, with your thoughts and comments, perhaps we can share in that process together.