What it Means to have a Lifelong Friendship with Music, Part 3 - Keeping Our Musical Perspectives Fresh
by Khoo Hui Ling
After graduating from being a music student, the commitments of working life and adulthood took up time and energy as compared to before when all my time revolved around the piano. There were times when I felt so drained, I hardly had any brain space left for inspired practice. Upon chatting with fellow musicians, music teachers, and music lovers, I realized I was not alone.
So at the start of 2019, I carved out time to re-connect with music in a personal rather than professional way, with the sole intention of keeping my perspectives on music fresh. Now at the start of 2020, I feel that those steps I had taken have become habits that have invigorated my musical self.
I’d like to share three of those habits with you today - habits that any music lover regardless of profession, level or age can cultivate.
Go to Concerts
The Music Studios recently did an interview with pianist Abigail Sin and her advice on keeping perspectives on music fresh was to attend concerts.
“There’s really nothing like a live concert to inspire you. Being in the same room as the people who are making music.. the air is vibrating around you, there’s really nothing like it!”
Couldn’t agree more! Watch the entire interview here:
(Use discount code THEMUSICSTUDIOS to get 30% of tickets for ‘Shall We Dance?’ by More than Music on 29th February and 1st March 2020)
A friend recently reminded me that the most expensive ticket when the Berlin Philharmonic visited singapore went for something like $680, and that in contrast one could buy an entire box set of the Berlin Philharmonic performing all the Beethoven Symphonies for $68 (used box set sold on Amazon). That is way more music for just one-tenth of the price of a live concert.
Well, unleash the inner Singaporean and maximize the tax that you are paying and go for free concerts! Music institutions often offer free concerts by visiting faculty or artists. Check out the free events that Esplanade hosts - I'm often enthralled and encouraged by performances at the Esplanade Concourse by local artistes!
Find Your Community
Find like-minded peers whom you can share your musical aspirations and discoveries with. You’ll learn so much more by tapping into other people’s experiences as well. More importantly, these people can help keep your practicing in check, very much like how an exercise buddy works. If you are a private music teacher looking for such a community, consider joining The Music Studios’ Pedagogy Meet-Ups!
Explore New Music
Exploring music one has not heard of before can be a really satisfying way to stimulate our musical perspectives. On my digital audio player, I create playlists of music for certain activities and times of the day. Every month, I insert music I have not heard before into each playlist, and I revel in intrigue when during the most unexpected moments I hear a piece of music for the first time. They become small daily reminders to listen intently and take joy in discovering.
It also helps that not too long ago I invested in a sound system and upgraded my digital audio player. Listening to good music through a good sound system at the end of each day has become a routine that anchors me.
If you are thinking of exploring audio equipment to enhance your listening experiences, hop down to Jaben at The Adelphi. Find Uncle Wilson, an expert audiophile and the approachable owner of Jaben, who readily shares advice on all things audio-related!
(Image on left: front of Jaben store. Image on right: myself and Uncle Wilson with huge range of headphones.)
A lifelong relationship with music will not happen if one is not inspired to pursue perfection in one's chosen musical field. Committing time and effort to keep my musical perspectives fresh even during periods when I have felt stretched with other commitments has given me the inspiration to be a better pianist and teacher. It might mean waking up earlier or a more careful prioritization of time, but it is definitely worth it, so give it a try!