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Be of Service to the Bigger Picture

No matter what function you are serving as a musician, put the larger picture before yourself. If you’re a soloist with an orchestra, play the concerto towards the goal of creating the best experience for the audience and heightening the entire evening, not by focusing on how you can look the best or promote yourself. If you’re a music director, don’t program so that you look good, but program so that the orchestra sounds good and the community can have a transformative event. If you’re an assistant conductor, don’t make comments to show how smart you are and undermine the conductor, but be as much service as you can to the concert and towards being a part of the music to be created.

“Play for the name on the front of the jersey, and they’ll remember the name on the back.”

Tony Adams

Administrators are used to this. They do their work for the organization, not for the glorification of themselves as a hard worker or individual. By putting your head down and working hard, or by raising your hand and putting forth ideas to improve systems instead of impressing the others in your meeting, you raise yourself indirectly and those you work with and for will remember it. But the performers among us sometimes lose sight of this in our constant drive towards fame, success, and recognition for our hard work. We tend to focus too much on our own image and not enough on the service that we’re providing, of the part we’re playing towards the greater whole. Everybody is part of the support staff. You’re supporting the picture that’s larger than any one person, group, piece, concert, organization, genre, city, state, or country. 

(Inspired by Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday)