So what exactly is the big idea in music?

So what exactly is the big idea in music?

Here is what I think...

Sometimes as musicians, we ask ourselves, "what is the big idea?". 

Every now and then, we take a few seconds to really think about our future, and by doing so, we think about what would be best for OUR OWN career.

But then, for some reason, we still feel lost. There is still no BIG goal to achieve, to strive for.... 

Let's think for a second. Is this whole music thing about getting the best orchestra job? Or the biggest solo concert gigs? Or is it about having the most followers on Instagram or Facebook? Perhaps your goal is to use music to impress your friends, family, or even that crush from band camp. 

person playing cello

I know when I first started playing the double bass, my goal was to play hard and flashy pieces simply to get attention and validation from my peers.

Sure, this may have given me the motivation to get through my training, but this sort of unhealthy motivation got old. With the help of meditation, and guidance from some of the greatest mentors, I soon realized what I was REALLY playing music for, and I realized I needed a new source of motivation; playing just for validation was no longer a source of motivation.

person sitting on a gray rock watching over a mountain

I admit, for a few years, I believed that music had no purpose in this world, and that if you really wanted to make an impact, then you had to get either an MBA and work in the tech industry, or become a doctor and save lives. 

I even went as far as purchasing MBA text books to study from, because it made me feel better. I felt like I was on the pathway to making a massive impact on this planet.

A man in a black suit loosening his tie

But get this... over time, as I was performing shows (I was still playing music thankfully), people were telling me about the "greatest concerts" they've ever been to. And I would ask them... why ... why was that concert so "great" in your opinion? 

I began to take notice of a pattern in their responses.

They kept saying that whenever they leave a concert feeling "changed", or more specifically, when the performer has made an impression on them that they will never forget for the rest of their lives, then THAT is when they felt they have seen one of the "greatest concerts".

So after all of this, I knew that the next big goal, for me at least, was to do whatever it took to create "unforgettable memories" on stage, rather than worrying about how difficult or fancy my repertoire choices were (notice how most of my pieces I have written are mostly on the difficult side).

For me, the bass I play, the bow I use, the music I play, all these things that we bassists obsess over, these are just tools that are used to create that unforgettable experience FOR the audience.

person performing heart hand gesture

For now, at least for me, the goal is to become more audience centric, which is the ability to ALWAYS keep the audience in mind during the planning phase of the concert, and during the performance. This new term is inspired by Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) and the way he runs his business, where the main idea for him and his team is to be customer obsessed, or customer centric. 

Image result for jeff bezos amazon

If the goal is to create the best experience for the audience, then it's pretty easy to decide what to do as far as musical decision making if you ask me. 

Now, what's next you ask? Well... get out there and get to know your audience! Don't be that person that sits backstage after performances to avoid hearing critical feedback from your audience.

-Xavier Foley


Check out my featured composition below!


Irish Fantasy for Violin and Bass

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