Today,I am struck by a presence,maybe not in my house,or in my street,or in my Town,but the presence,nonetheless of others.
When I was a child,I probably was one of only a handful of children who studied music in the whole of the country.Now,I know,that might do wonders for our egos,but it was still a fantasy.As I grew up,I realised that there were so many others in the world who shared my passion for music,and so many many there would reach the Zenith of the profession,and grace concert halls around the world.
So,why is it different now in 2015?Simply,the onset of the World Wide Web.With youngsters uploading their playing via social media,I am truly humbled to be in the midst of so much great artistry.This is so positive.Being a solo musician can be a lonely thing,it really can.You do it for absolutely no assurance that you will ever aspire to the concert platform,and you do it at the expense of so many other things.
Some of these young Pianists on You-Tube show astounding technique at such an early age.They are from all over the world.Many show a passion for art that is really quite profound.As someone who is known in my family as a Luddite,I have to say that showing these videos to some of my pupils has enabled them,and their parents,to maybe have a more realistic opinion of themselves,and of their children.
So,what does it all mean?Are there more talented young people now than ever before?
Having thought about this,I feel that the greatest thing that the Web can do for artists is to enable them to share their art in a space that truly has the maximum exposure.As someone who doesn’t live in a big city,I rarely get to hear an international concert performer.Yes,some of these recordings are done against the wishes of the performer which is,of course,wrong.However,many young artists openly court your attention via social media.Many are from Eastern Europe,and so many are fine young people with wonderful pianistic voices.
Personally,I don’t necessarily think that there are more talented artists now,it’s just that they are able to use the Web to get themselves out there.That,to me,is right and proper.
Now,could it be that some are exploited because parents see music as a route out of poverty?That was the case with my mother,so maybe I have a biased opinion on this matter.What I would say is that Poverty is all pervasive in the world that we live in,and sadly,it’s something that I thought would have disappeared from society by now.Although I would never judge any parent,you have to be cautious in your approach to helping all children reach their potential.
Being realistic,there is a glut of extremely brilliant young people at specialists institutions around the world,all via for a very small amount of concert space.Being practical about it,you have to temper enthusiasm with realism.
As a musician,my life has been transformed in many ways by the Web.Yes,I realise that there are those who abuse it,as they might do in society as a whole,but being able to listen to my fellow musician around the world is a wonderful thing.
Now,I’m off to listen to the final stages of the Chopin Piano prize which is available on the Web too.