Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Art of Winning

Hello everyone,

I thought it would be interesting to write a blog about music competitions, and I invite anyone who wishes to share their thoughts and comments to do so.

The tricky thing about competitions is that while they are an avenue to getting heard by people whom one would not ordinarily meet, they are perhaps better in theory than in practice. I say this because music, after all, is art, and art is subjective. In such a case as this, it is nigh impossible to say if one musician is better than another. (Who is to say that a Monet painting is “better” than a Renoir?) Therefore, due to the subjectivity of the endeavor, the winners of these competitions are chosen based on a few variables: the political connections of the competitors; the judges’ biases; or to whom the judges simply and inexplicably take a fancy.

Interestingly, a very similar situation is found in the equestrian arena. Some judges are particularly endeared to gray horses – others not – and the end result is the manifestation of their psychological quirks. Imagine picking a musician to win a competition based on the color of his or her instrument – ridiculous!

This little blog obviously does not fully examine the many gears of competitions’ inner workings, but in summary, nearly all of what happens in the competition world is determined by politics and bias, because there is no definite measuring stick with which one can judge art. One must decide whether it is worth it to gamble one’s time and resources on an endeavor with an unpredictable outcome. So much is the luck of the draw. However, my personal advice to anyone who is interested is to participate if you are able, but to remain emotionally uninvested; you will drive yourself crazy if you care too much about others’ opinions of your playing!

Happy New Year!