Milestones aren’t destinations. The ancient Romans built them so travelers would know how far they had come, and how far still to go to their goal.
When you treat a concert as a destination, you are ignoring the real destination (yearlong goals of artistry, knowledge, teamwork). So I ask my students to think of concerts as a chance to “check in” and see how they’re doing.
When you’re in rehearsal, it’s easy for a week or three to go by without being mindful of progress. It’s in performance that you get to have these two observations: “Look how far we have come!” and “Look how far there is to go!”
Concerts are incredibly important – just as the Roman army marched a certain mileage every day and could use the milestone to tell them when to stop, so we use them as intermediate goals and checkpoints.
But we must remain mindful that they are not the end. Performances are just a place to catch your breath for the journey ahead.
As we proceed through festival season, how can you help your choirs view the performance as a milestone rather than a destination?