When Youth Meets Experience, Both Win

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”  ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

All professions, and passions, are a never-ending journey of learning and discovery towards mastery.  No matter how good one becomes at their chosen craft, there are always more mysteries and deeper meanings to discover and learn.  And that is especially true of music, and classical music in particular.

In classical music, one learns from three sources: the original scores, recordings and Wolfgang+Amadeus+Mozart+1mozartvideos of others playing their interpretations, and finally your own individual experience in playing that particular piece of music.  Take, for example, Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A Major, considered by many to be one his finest pieces for clarinet and strings. It has even infiltrated modern culture with the piece being featured in the final episode of M*A*S*H, the popular television series. The final episode, “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen“, was the most watched television episode in U.S. television history at the time, with a record-breaking 125 million viewers, and featured the character, Major Charles Winchester, teaching the Mozart Clarinet Quintet to a group of Chinese prisoners of war.

The week we are at the Festival Musique de la Vallée du Cougain in the south of FranceDSC_0083 and Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet was one of the featured performances at the concert in Limoux last evening. All the players were aged 25 or older, with the exception of the second violin, who was just 14 years of age.  A budding amateur playing with seasoned pros.  And the clarinet part was played by Julien Herve, principal clarinettist of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.

So how does it work when a young musician is paired with older and more experienced professionals?  Naturally, it could go horribly wrong, or it could be great for everyone, players and audience alike.  And it really depends upon the “character” of the musicians, perhaps even more than their ability. Technical skill determines one’s ability to play the right notes at the right tempo, but character determines a performer’s capability to integrate with others in such a way that the composer’s vision reaches and moves the audience.  As one of the players commented, “we all must learn to get ourselves out of the way of the music”.

Good advice for all of us non-musicians as well!

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress


About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at john@johnrchildress.com or john.childress@theprincipiagroup.com
This entry was posted in Human Psychology, John R Childress, Life Skills, Organization Behavior, Personal Development, Self-improvement and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to When Youth Meets Experience, Both Win

  1. Pingback: A Little Hors d’oeuvre from our Music Festival in France | John R Childress . . . Rethinking

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