Playing music isn’t so different from farming

emile-horn

Emile Webber of Hathor Farm playing classical music, his other great love.

Classical music is something I can recommend to anyone, since it will teach you about life, what it is to create a thing of beauty that is simply there to express emotion and tap into it. In order to actually do that though, you have to spend at least fifteen years of your life dedicated to it, before you can dare even come close to calling yourself a musician. You go through a physical stage, where you learn to control your body to be able to play your instrument, then you have to go through the emotional understanding of what is expressed in the notes, and then you have to go through years of seeing yourself failing to perform it as you want to perform it, until you understand that perfection is only something to aim for, never something actually achieved.

You can then play in an orchestra, which is doing all that, but then with 40 to 120 people all together. What that teaches you is that you have a voice, and it’s important, and you have to play well, but more importantly, you have to constantly be in tune with everything that goes on around you, literally and figuratively. You have your section to be aware of, you have the other sections to be aware of, the brass, woodwinds, strings. Then there is the conductor who is trying to let you all do something, and sometimes a soloist who might not always agree. The only way really to be able to do that is to be in the moment completely, while at the same time having in your imagination already what is going to happen next. If you do make a mistake, and you will, the only way to deal with it is to accept it and move on instantly.

To make a long story short, playing music is about everything, and for me it isn’t so different from farming, or whatever else you do. You try to aim for quality, you try to work with other people but not shy away from your own part to play, and you try to be aware of the effect of the greater whole on the smaller part.

I think, having explained that, it isn’t so strange that I feel most attracted to biodynamic farming, since it takes for granted the effects the whole has on the parts and vice versa. It sees a farm as a living organism where you try to achieve balance, and you take responsibility for your actions and try to look what effect your actions will have in the future. Obviously you have to make a living, but money is really the least of your objectives, or at least you hope that if you have produced something of quality, it will be appreciated by those who take an interest, and that they will enable you to continue your existence (or simply pay you for what you are doing). All in all not so unlike playing a Mahler symphony for example, including the satisfaction if you have accomplished something worthwhile.

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