What are Your Musical Values?

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What are your musical values?


After listening to a discussion on business values, it occurred to me that perhaps I should give some thought to my musical values. With music filling so much of my time, and taking so much of my energy, it would make sense to identify these. But surely my musical values were clear.

It wasn’t as easy to identify my values as I thought it would be. There are many aspects of music that are important to me, from "little" things like notes and dynamics, to bigger issues like learning about music history and theory, and bringing that knowledge to my practicing and performing.

I started making a list that threatened to be pages long, when I realized that these things weren’t "values." They were details or habits or commitments that were important to me as a result of my musical values. Once I started thinking of them that way, I was able to see that these things fell into one of three "values categories:"


This covers a wide range of things. In this category, I include integrity to the music: trying to be a faithful interpreter of the composer’s written instructions and supposed intention; playing correct notes, rhythms, dynamics; creating a musical experience from the printed page. I include integrity in my practice habits: practicing regularly and with attention; tuning; aiming always to do better. I also include integrity in dealing with other musicians, particularly my students and my colleagues, aiming to act responsibly to them and uplift them.


To me, this means continually broadening and deepening my understanding of the history of music, its inner workings, musical traditions, instruments, composers and performers. I want to stay curious, and to study, listen to and read about music, in addition to playing. This category includes experimenting with new techniques for playing and learning, and exploring music being written today.


This is the easiest part for me, but perhaps the most important to me. I believe music should be shared, not just with audiences, but also with students and colleagues. I believe that the traditions and knowledge shared with me by my teachers have now become part of me, and I am responsible for passing them to others. Sharing is how I can make my small contribution to the musical world and my infinitesimal addition to the universe.

Music, at its heart, is communication between people. And that is where I want to be.

What are your musical values?

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  • Anne Knights

    You’ve got it covered Anne. I will turn the words slightly and mention the ‘Value of Music’ Apart from the fun and relaxation it brings to individual lives it has an enormous part to play in the healing of the planet. Bringing people from different, and sometimes hostile, cultures together and sharing their musical passion. I loved seeing the world youth orchestra with musicians from most countries in the world making music together. Another treasured memory of Arab and Israeli musicians playing together, blending all musical styles and having a fantastic time together. It(music)has certainly helped to soften the black/white line. It has certainly been one of the greatest joys in my life. I am so happy to find that I can actually make some instead of just listening!


  • Michelle Tucker

    I agree with all your musical values. Integrity seems to be the category I focus on most. Though, I want to give more time to exploration and sharing. In my sharing category, I have been focusing more on sharing music with audiences. I want others to develop an appreciation for the harp. Through my playing, I hope to open Their eyes to how beautiful and versatile the harp can be. I have recently started teaching a student too, and have found the experience of teaching to be very fulfilling. I hope I will be able to establish myself more as a teacher.
    Exploration is a very important category and the one I need most work on. I want to broaden my understanding of music theory and learn the history of music and composers and broaden my ear by listening to more music. I am currently reading “Pentacle” the biography of Carlos salzedo by Marietta bitter. It is really interesting and I hope to read and listen to music from other composers and musicians as well.
    Integrity is the category I have been focusing on most. I just graduated with a BM in May 2013 and during my studies at college and before college, my main focus has been learning to better my skills and technique as a harpist. I love the journey of learning new music and bettering my technique. I have acquired many good practice habits because of harpmastery.com and I am so thankful for that! I hope to continue bettering myself in my practicing every day.
    Thank you f


  • Michelle Tucker

    Thank you for your wonderful and inspiring posts!


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