The Artist’s Burden
The fulfillment and satisfaction that comes from an innate ability or talent in a particular skill is a special joy. Whether dance, music, singing or acting, the demands continue without rest. Unlike a finished painting, a work of art, a novel or literary material; once completed, the performer is never done.
The musician cannot stay away from his instrument for long. Practice must continue or all or parts of the work are lost.
Memory can be relied upon to a certain extent, but if put aside without attention to detail. It deteriorates. Apart from music or content, technique itself can only be kept in top form by daily practice. ” Keeping the tools bright” is a good rule to follow. If the dancer sits down, there is no dance.
In my lifetime I have accumulated about fifty different Spanish dances over the course of my long career. These include flamenco styles (done with guitar) theater or stylized works based on Spanish forms, Regional pieces and lastly dances of the 18th Century ( Escuela Bolera).
Most are my own creations based of course on genuine material. Others are the works of the masters I studied under.
In addition, I also learned flamenco songs: (cantes) which I did sing in performances on occasion. In order to retain the technique and details of all this requires constant review or else it is lost.
As a classically trained pianist and harpsichordist I also possess a large repertoire in 19th century works and much early music as well. This amounts to a great volume of written music which has to be retained by muscle memory. If put aside for too long, it can evaporate.
I have had the frustrating experience of forgetting passages of music, or words to a song as well as dance patterns that elude me unless repeated from time to time.
This, then, is the artist’s burden. There is no sitting back and resting on one’s laurels!
With this confession, I wonder if other performers suffer the same dilemma.
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