A couple of years ago I was watching a video game streamer play video games on YouTube, and I thought to myself, “This is amazing. He’s doing something he loves and he’s built a community that supports him”. Then I thought “I wonder what applications live streaming would have for musicians?” Because streams often go for a long time, I thought the ability to see someone work on a piece of music, and even have the ability to ask them questions about their process might be really cool. I know that when I was younger, if I had access to a professional musician for free, and I could ask them any questions I wanted to, I would have loved that opportunity. So I asked a friend of mine “Do you think anyone would be interested in watching a professional practice their instrument on a live stream?” She said “No”. So, I forgot about it and moved on.
In November of 2018, the idea popped into my head again, so I reached out to some friends to see if they thought it would be a good idea. One person was Michael Anderson, my teacher from undergrad, who was supportive of the idea. The other person was Andrew J. Stetson, D. M. A., who said “Do a poll on Facebook right now, buy the stuff, and start streaming in two weeks.” So I did.
Lesson learned. The people you surround yourself with can be integral to the amount of success you have. Get people in your corner who want YOUR best, and who will support YOU.
This project of learning the Jolivet on live stream has been pretty awesome to work on. From the perspective of learning the piece, I’m pretty shocked at how quickly I’m progressing. Putting myself out there means I have to be very thoughtful about how I approach my practice, as I have people watching and expecting me to know what I’m talking about. That kind of pressure has made me focus so much more than if I were casually learning it in my bedroom, and I hope to be able to continue that kind of focus at all times in my practice.
It was slow at first, but seeing some interaction from the people watching has been really cool as well. Much like the video game streamers, I really want to try and build a community. A place where musicians, pro and student alike, can come and interact with each other and have a great time. Ultimately, my goal was to try and open a dialogue about practice, and to look into what efficient practice is or what it can be. In no way am I an expert, but I do feel that I’ve made huge steps in that effort, and I can say this live stream has been a big part of that. Now I just want to share it to help people feel empowered to be able to tackle any music they want, regardless of difficulty, because they have a plan of how to practice it.
Professor Anderson used to tell me in my lessons, “If you develop an efficient system for learning new music you will never fear something that looks difficult. All you need is enough time to apply your system.” I kind of understood that back then, but I’m really starting to see how true that idea really is.
Until next time,