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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

No One Cares About the Facts

Andrew Hitz

As musicians we get caught up all the time in getting all of the facts right. Sometimes, in the moment, it is all we care about.

The problem is that most people don't really care. Or at the least only care when the facts aren't correct. But they are rarely a value add.

"Don't just tell me the facts. Tell me a story."
—Seth Godin from All Marketers Are Liars

The above Seth Godin quote has absolutely nothing to do with music. He was talking about marketing. But this quote could have come from any number of world-renowned music teachers.

The problem with focusing on the facts in an audition is that so many people will show up able to play all of the facts correctly that you are going to be in trouble. And the number of people who can do that is greater than ever and getting larger all the time.

There will be a few people at that audition who can deliver all of the facts (impeccable rhythm, pitch, phrasing, articulation, etc.) but will also be able to use those facts to tell a musical story so compelling and so remarkable that they force the committee to consider them for the job.

The same goes for conductors and trios and composers.

So whether you are hoping to someday replace Joe Alessi in the New York Philharmonic or are sitting in a high school band, always go for the story.

The notes on the page are a car. Drive your audience somewhere interesting. Somewhere they have to go back to. That's what it's all about.