In our field, the orchestral musician is the highest example of a craftsperson, someone who preserves a known repertoire, who continually refines his/her technique in order to replicate something already learned. A craftsperson clearly pictures the end product at the beginning of a task and has respect for tradition and performance practice.
The artist, by contrast, does not know the result of his/her work prior to creation. Like the craftsperson, the artist must acquire a great amount of skill. Artists must have an original virtuosity and cultivate their voice through the choices they make.
Technique Practice as Mind Training – Progress is Doing:
Eugene Herrigel, the author of Zen in the Art of Archery, was surprised to learn that Japanese Zen students practicing archery were not at all concerned with hitting the target. We should use our musical practice in the same way: not simply to achieve goals, but to train our minds.
Today’s climate of commercialism and consumerism has produced the idea that pop culture status and fame are effective measurements of success, and that the most desirable use of musical talent is for commercial employment. Some teachers promote this notion and the marketplace rewards it.