About playing a musical instrument

For the professional who has spent a lifetime studying and learning to play the rewards are the pleasure of making the sounds, the admiration, making money and often teaching the next generation.

Playing for an audience adds another dimension. The tacit emotional communication back and forth with the audience often is a source of pleasure for the performer, and also adds to the performance. The most electrifying moments at a concert, I believe are when the emoti of the performer are in sync with those of the audience.

Truly great riveting, memorable performances occur when the piece the performer is playing corresponds to the emotional life of the performer at that moment .

Many years ago, I heard Byron Janus perform Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto #1. Most of us have heard this piece many times. But the performance that night was electrifying.

I believe this happened because Byron Janus was in a certain place emotionally where that piece perfectly expressed his inner emotional life. I had the pleasure of meeting Byron Janus many years later. I told him about that night. I was surprised that he remembered it. He told me that sometimes he feels he is channeling the composer. That was one of those nights.

There are many different levels of ability.

The amateur enjoys playing for an audience, at times for the admiration and appreciation he or she gets, as well as the satisfaction of giving pleasure to others.

But an important component is that playing the instrument is an outlet for one’s emotional life. Anger, sadness, excitement, joy, all can be expressed. Playing to express feelings is constructive. It has a cathartic effect and is a benefit to the player on emotional and psychological levels.

Many studies show other benefits: The ability to concentrate, to persevere, to focus, to learn. These skills carry over to other endeavors in life.