Monday, March 21, 2016

Seymour: An Introduction

The past few weeks I have spent a great deal of time wondering about my art and work.  At the ripe old age of 53 you'd think I'd already have things figured out, but the opposite seems to be the case instead.  I think a great deal more now than I ever have before, working to understand myself and life-puzzles in general.  I'm certainly not depressed but I do feel repressed at times; like there's more inside of me that I need to find a way to release- better creativity and freer expression to be tapped into.  Do other people have to fight so hard to let go of their artistic inhibitions?
From the film, "Seymour: An Introduction"

So, I've used a lot of evenings to watch documentaries and read articles, trying to work my way out of the funk I've fallen into. Tonight, however, I found one that has profoundly touched me.  Entitled simply, "Seymour: An Introduction," it is about Seymour Bernstein, classical pianist and teacher.  I couldn't help but fall under the spell of this gentle and soft-spoken man.  Embedded in the narrative were some gems of wisdom that brought me straight up, all ears and soul, listening to his insight and finding something I deeply needed to hear.  I wanted to share some of them with you, in case you need them, too.

As a boy, Seymour noticed, "When my practicing went well everything else in life seemed to be harmonized by that.  When my practicing didn't go well, I was out of sorts with people, my parents- so I concluded that the real essence of who we are resides in our talent, and whatever talent there is."     

He also mentions finding balance, although not in that term exactly.
"Motivated by a love of music and possessed of a clear understanding of the reasons for practicing, you can establish so deep an accord between your musical self and your personal self that eventually music and life will interact in a never-ending cycle of fulfillment."  
While Bernstein is referring to his art, what he has said applies to all creative endeavors, I think.  Getting there is the tricky part.  Here are a few other nuggets I am chewing on tonight:

  • Without craft, there isn't any real artistry. (Oh, how the professors of art at most universities would howl at this, but I completely believe in this concept)
  • The struggle is what makes the art form. 
  • If we didn't have dissonance, we wouldn't have resolution. (Although speaking of musical compositions, I believe this is one of those eternal truths; we can't feel joy without feeling pain)
  • I never dreamt that with my own 2 hands I could touch the sky.
  • If you feel inadequate as a musician, then you're going to feel inadequate as a person. (Ouch! That one will take some soul-searching to resolve) 

A new-found hero for me to learn from, Seymour Bernstein.
As I work to understand the period of "dissonance" I find myself in, what I get from this sweet film will help me along the way.  It was so worth my evening.  If you have a chance to watch this, look it up on Netflix.  And enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by- Alice

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