To Play is to Learn

I made a new year’s resolution: that when I was privileged to speak to an audience, I would mention one of many ways music is meaningful to me. So here it is: music teaches me about life. Practice teaches patience in a world that surrounds us with instant gratification. Tone production teaches us that beauty is effort. Playing with others teaches us to get along, and to gain from each other’s differences. And interpretation teaches us that all too often there’s more than one right answer.

The impact that performance gives us, and the impact it gives to our audiences, drives us to be better musicians. And hopefully, being better musicians makes us better people.

But a little competition helps too. That’s human nature. What I have enjoyed the most in being a part of the competition over the past three years is not only how quickly the new generation is moving forward, but that the top prizes – the opportunity to attend music festivals and to play as soloists with the Selangor Symphony – are by themselves educational in nature. And as my fellow judge Ivan Torres has reminded me, competitions have their own intrinsic value: working under pressure, communicating to audiences, not letting mistakes bog you down, and both winning and losing graciously.

In some ways, I am not looking forward to the task ahead: music is subjective, and to choose winners among what I am certain will be many moving performances is no easy task. But as much as I hope the competition will be an experience in learning for the contestants, I know it will continue to be a learning experience for me as well, as each of the judges puts forward unique viewpoints, formed from years of practice, performance, and teaching.

For now, on behalf of the entire jury, I wish each of you the best. We look forward to hearing your skills, and your ideas. Most importantly, through the musical language of composers from centuries past, we look forward to hearing what music means to you.

Kind regards,
Dr Andrew Filmer, PhD Otago MMus Indiana
Head of Jury
Euroasia Strings Competition