Read this article if you really love music. Then, read the following addition to the thoughts of Mr. Conick, Jr.
More than a few years ago, I was doing musical direction for a local production of Cabaret. Cabaret has some really fun, upbeat numbers in it, but it is hardly a fun, upbeat musical. In fact, most productions like to put the spotlight on the title number. It’s a great tune but it is hardly the point of the musical. The single most important song in the musical is called, “What Would You Do?”. It is sung after Fraulein Schneider returns an engagement gift after breaking off the engagement to Herr Schultz, a Jew.
When performing this song, the actress I was working with kept asking to sing the song faster. I consistently said no. The words of that song and the importance that the audience understood it was critical to the entire musical. It could not be barged though. If the audience was not painfully uncomfortable at the end of it, then the performance, nay, the entire musical, was a failure.
Music is not about technique. Certainly, technique has to be developed in order to not have the lack of it be a distraction. But music is about emotion, feeling, presentation as much, if not more, than it is about technique. Unfortunately, we are living in an age where this is being pushed aside for the perception of performance perfection. The sad thing is that the performances are not perfect; far from it. They are rigid and cold. They are calculated and without any stamp of the human experience.
It’s time to put meaning and feeling back in music. That might sound odd from a guy who spends an inordinate amount of time writing production library music. But even though I spend a lot of time doing that, if you listen to my productions, you will find some flaws that are left in. You will have to really listen to hear them, but they are there. And I am proud of it. I am proud that I play everything from a keyboard or drum pad. And I will continue to do so, because music is as much a statement of who I am as a person as it as a statement about my technical skills, or lack thereof.
Songs are not just songs. Symphonies are not just symphonies They are windows into the soul of a composer and/or lyricist. Take the time to look through that window and study carefully what is on the other side. You will be a better musician because you took the time to do so.
And Booyah, Harry Conick, Jr. Booyah!