Sunday, 23 March 2014

Be purposeful

The famous conductor Valery Gergiev was staying at a seaside resort in Israel whilst undertaking a concert tour with his orchestra. His friend had just gone scuba diving and Gergiev asked him about it. His friend explained, “You put on tanks, breathing apparatus, you go underwater.”
“And?” Gergiev asked.
This snippet of conversation is very revealing about Gergiev’s perception of and approach to life. Life needs to have a purpose: a specific and clear end result.
Not unsurprisingly, this way of thinking is central to his music making as well. The way he leads and directs his orchestra is very purposeful and his musical intentions, what he is trying to achieve whilst conducting, are very clear.
Having this clear purpose in mind helps to make his overall interpretation of a piece of music coherent and consistent. For example, if he feels that a piece of music possesses an underlying mournfulness or sadness he will bring out its dark orchestral textures and slightly accentuate or linger upon certain phrases to realise their emotional potential. Thus the audience will quickly begin to perceive Gergiev’s overall purpose and how it is informing the growth and development of the music.
When you are preparing for a task think carefully about your purpose: what it is you need to achieve. Keep your purpose in mind as you prepare for and undertake the task. Concentrate upon those aspects and details of the task that will help you achieve your purpose. This will not only enhance the clarity and direction of your thinking but also enable others to understand and appreciate your intentions.

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