Knowing is Not Enough

Knowing is not enough;
we must apply.
Willing is not enough;
we must do.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I try to read that quote every year to my students before a performance where they have the potential to raise their personal and group bars. This year, that was District Solo & Ensemble on Saturday.

They met Goethe’s challenge with a score one point shy of perfect; more importantly, they were able to overcome palpable anxiety and make music in the clinical setting of an adjudication room. They received a great clinic from their judge and were on their way.

Tonight I’ll remind them that it is not a given for a choir to show their strengths in that room. We have all conducted choirs who knew the right notes & rhythms, and were willing to be musical, but did not apply the knowledge and make the music in performance.

Challenge your choirs to be excellent not just in theory, but in practice: in front of an audience.

Of course, the beauty of Goethe’s challenge – and of music – is that there is always more to know and to apply, more peaks to attempt and to reach.