Attending a live performance is something beneficial to any musician. It rejuvenates the soul and serves as a great learning tool. I find that I regain motivation to excel, whether in practice or performance (or both). Hearing a different concept on familiar repertoire can shed new light on an old workhorse. Even after studying and performing the Haydn and Hummel concertos for seven years, I’ve found new ways to approach these pieces after hearing then performed by Alison Balsom. Witnessing the way the London Symphony Orchestra’s woodwinds play together or how Wynton Marsalis works an audience is inspiring and educational. Hearing Wayne Bergeron get seemingly stronger through a two hour concert boggles the mind!
Live performance is also the best way to experience the emotion of music. I’ll never forget the first time I heard the Chicago Symphony perform an all Wagner show. I was riveted to my chair, unable to move until the concert was over. That feeling cannot be duplicated anywhere. You not only feel the emotion of the music, but also the emotion of the music as performed through the musicians on stage. Combining a major work with a world-class performing ensemble is a recipe for one of life’s great experiences.
I’ve had the good fortune of hearing many great ensembles and performers, and while it has cost me a small fortune to attend the dozens of concerts I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Everyone has different priorities, but if getting the chance to hear one of my favorite groups means I have to eat peanut butter and jelly for a week, I’ll do it every time!