Richard and Sarah: “We’re both conservatory-trained classical musicians, but don’t spend most of our days playing any more. We talk all the time about how the things we learned in a pretty rigorous training have weaved their way into other parts of our lives, including how we work.
As orchestra musicians specifically, a lot of our training revolves around being relentlessly self-critical, learning to listen to the people we are playing with, adapting to and working with their priorities, and being vulnerable and accepting of their critique. In the context of 2020, especially as white folks, it’s so clear how valuable these practices are to our role in bringing our society closer to what it has always claimed to be—but never was.
Musicians are valuable not just because of the art we create, but because of the practice we bring as artists to society. We’re not perfect, obviously. In fact, if you ever talk to a musician about their performance, the first thing you’ll usually hear about is what they did wrong or what note was out of tune. But that desire to grow, adapt to others, and improve is drilled deep into our cores.
We still try and make music where we can. During the COVID quarantine, we’ve been playing along together with recordings of symphonies for fun. It’s not the same as making music with a big group of people, but no matter who you’re playing with, there’s always an opportunity to grow.”