Why Play Music?

Why Play Music?

Or the violin, for that matter?

Tim Ferriss says of whether or not to write a book, “If it’s easier/less painful to get it out into the world, than to keep the subject matter of the book inside, and wonder what if – that’s when you write a book.”

That’s honestly as good a parallel as you’re going to get.

Another, less pain ridden, and also useful way to say that is this:

If it’s more fun/interesting/fulfilling to play music than to not play music, then play music.


It’s not like playing music is easy.

Or fun all the time.

Sometimes it’s really fun.

And a lot of times it’s really really hard.

But if you get a payoff that’s bigger than or even equal to the effort, it’s worth it.

That doesn’t mean you should constantly be observing yourself. And the moment you’re not amused anymore you should stop playing.

It means you should constantly observe yourself. And the moment you’re not amused anymore you should dig in, and ask yourself how you could be amused by what you’re doing, how you could be fascinated. And if you come up with an answer, keep digging, keep practicing, keep creating, and keep performing.

The payoff is in the growth and in the world that appears bigger than it did yesterday because you did something hard, or new, or both, and you got better.

The payoff is in the performance and sharing of something special with others.

The payoff is in the moments of discovery.

The payoff is in the moments of mental and physical dance that hypnotize you for just a moment, and then are gone.

The payoff is in the private moments of enjoyment that are yours, and yours alone.

And the public ones in front of whoever you decide to play for.

You have to decide if it’s worth the time and the effort. And you won’t actually know until you’ve put in the time and the effort. So it’s a leap of faith and a daily practice to make something better of yourself, to explore something new, and to possibly feel like you did something worth doing.

I can tell you this. If you do try, and you give it everything you have, and you work to figure it out, and you set aside time for daily practice to make yourself better, and if you make yourself better today than you were yesterday, that is an impressive achievement worth being proud of.

Playing music is something that can be intensely rewarding on a long term basis. And the violin is one way to play music. It’s a very hard way to play music. But that difficulty doesn’t make it worse unless you think it does. It’s really all up to you.

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