Many people have come up afterwards and expressed their amazement at the level of musicianship and the quality of the performances. We graciously smile and thank them and go back to our daily routines of teaching music to the students in our classes every day.
Occasionally, we hear comments about how “we must be very pleased that we have such TALENTED young people to work with…you know the students are just so TALENTED to be able to perform this way.”
We do have a great group of students. They work hard. They follow instructions. They do their best. We do need to realize, however, that it isn’t all about being talented…rather, it’s about learning how to work together as a group, learning how to set goals and work toward them, accepting guidance and being teachable, and following through on your commitments.
We do have some talented young musicians. They will rank among the best in our district; a few might rank among the best in the state at All State and Honors tryouts. Once in a while, we get a student who would stack up as one of the best in the nation on their respective instrument. Most of our students, however, are not ready to take on a professional performing career. They struggle day to day to learn the techniques and musicianship standards necessary to perform. They spend hours in class working to understand the nuances of ensemble performance and musical style. They depend on the guidance of their teachers, both classroom and private to get them through the musical challenges.
When you view a performance, you are seeing the culmination of hundreds of hours of preparation and coaching. You are hearing the result of not just the performers, but the conductors who have (hopefully) honed the groups into a unified and quality ensemble. What takes minutes to perform might have taken months to prepare.
Take nothing away from the students…they work hard, they attend class, they practice until they get it right, and they perform on stage at a very high level. They are wonderfully receptive to learning and are willing to accept suggestions of how to improve. Fortunately, we have teachers on every level that give appropriate guidance and bring these students together into performing groups that are of high quality.
SO you see, TALENT is one component, but it takes much, much more to create the types of performances that you see on stage.