I started playing piano many years before the bassoon. One of my beginning piano instructors—excellent, excellent teacher—was Paul McNeely in Seattle, Washington. He often talked about trying to achieve perfection in music. That made quite an impression on me as a young boy, trying to practice and achieve this perfection.

Well, year after year after year it became very apparent to me that I would never achieve that perfection. I was always coming up short; I was never coming to that perfection. It wasn’t until I had a change in my life, that I became a Christian that this was a vantage point that was really destructive: destructive toward my progress in music as well as my personal well-being. I learned little by little that it is not the perfection that we should be seeking to achieve, rather it is excellence. There is a big difference between the two.

Perfection is this idealistic goal that is set up…it is really static. It is a non-moving goal like this beautiful crystal which we can never create ourselves. Excellence, however, is looking at the tools, the abilities, the capability, the time, the effort that you have and putting forth an effort to craft something, to make something that is truly excellent and wonderful. Excellence isn’t static. It is something that is ongoing; it is something that you live through every moment of music making. It is part of your effort; it is part of everything that you can do. Yes, within excellence there are going to be mistakes. Yes, within excellence there are going to be problems and things that you do wrong without meaning to. But the excellence is that goal—it becomes the goal. There is this great reward knowing that you have worked to the best of your ability to achieve that.

If you want to learn a little bit more about the change in my life then please take a look at www.2reed.net/choice. God bless you, thank you.

2reed  For Christian Artists