Friday, April 20, 2007

Luck?

I have been practicing very carefully in order to prepare for a recital next Saturday. The program is difficult: were playing the Beethoven Spring Sonata, the Grieg C minor Sonata, and a one-movement Sonata from 1897 by Ravel. I want to play well because the music is so good, and I also want to have a good time playing it. I don't want to mess it up with sloppy shifts, false accents, or notes that are dead due to lack of vibrato, out of tune, or both. In order to accomplish this I have to practice everything slowly and carefully, and I have to pay careful attention to details as well as maintain a high level of concentration.

A person I invited to the concert wished me luck, after letting me know that he wasn't planning to attend. Suddenly it dawned on me that luck has absolutely nothing to do with playing well. Wishing someone luck for a concert could even suggest a lack of confidence in the person giving the concert, so in some ways it is counter-productive because a good amount of playing well depends on being confident. Playing well is a result of careful preparation. Winning at Bingo is a matter of luck.

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3 comments:

Gottagopractice said...

Yeah, you tell 'im. But "Good luck!" is such a typical Bland Good Wish that I don't think we will be able to eradicate it. For myself, I try to remember to say "Play well!" or "Have fun!". Please do. Both.

Liz said...

I usually say "Enjoy yourself!" but I have been guilty of saying "Good Luck!".

Is there a musical equivalent of "Break a leg!"......?

Guanaco said...

We usually wish "good luck" to a student about to take a test, or to an applicant for a job interview, even though we know that luck has nothing to do with their success.

In a time where we feel increasingly powerless to external events, is the "good luck" statement more of a general hope that nothing external to the player goes wrong? Such as the lights failing, or a rash of cellphones ringing, or a coughing fit in the third row, or your stand partner knocking the music to the floor, or your endpin slipping (for us cellists).

How about "Break a string"?