Sharing music, giving to others, teaches us about precious and valuable, highly transferable skills. While being goal-oriented is useful and often practical in helping determine educational outcomes, it is often more beneficial as a motivating force. Musicians typically seek internal motivation over external, but the summer is a tough time to draw upon that well. Besides, who wants to work on something without any obvious payback?
A recent search (#WIFM) brought up a marketing website and entrepreneurship article focused on improving customer satisfaction, or the "What's in it for me?" factor. Consumers want to see and have results, now. The same article (granted, this is a marketing tool so it's about purchasing an item) touts that consumers gravitate toward an experience they individually or in combination hear, see, taste, smell, touch - all at the moment. Success is achieved when this magic recipe delivers a purchase. Where does music fall here, besides the obvious category (hear)?
When we work on something less concrete than an activity that delivers immediate gratification (like cooking dinner), we're talking about an investment of time and energy (like planting a tiny sapling). Practicing only for tomorrow is rarely going to be a recipe for success, but practicing for next month, or next semester, or better yet - next year (thank you, Trevor) - will offer a much better and more satisfying overall experience. Few people have the patience or perseverance to see that sapling really take root!
Time and energy are expensive commodities in this day of consumerism, and as "they" say - the best things in life are free (and priceless - I'm keeping the ball rolling on those pithy maxims and expressions from last time, have you noticed?!). So what am I trying to say here? I suppose it's this: making great music is a fantastic by-product of finding deeper connections to others, achieving more profound human expression, and the eternal quest to find greater meaning...of searching for more, seeking other options and possibilities. The goal is not the ACT of playing the most perfect B or C#, or articulating the fastest beat of 32nd notes, or playing the softest and most exquisitely delicate high G# at pppp in tune, but it's WHAT we learn about ourselves and others along the way. And then, the kicker: what we DO with those abilities.
What are you going to do with yours?