Why trust is a key factor in musical relationships

The way to learn whether a person is trustworthy is to trust him. ~Ernest Hemingway

Relationships between musicians are based on trust, both musically and emotionally. When musicians play together on stage, they enter into an unspoken agreement.

  1. We want the music to sound good. 

     Credit: Jorge Royan / http://www.royan.com.ar

    Credit: Jorge Royan / http://www.royan.com.ar

  2. We want to make each other sound good. 
  3. We want what’s best for the performance. 

That trust is violated when our performances with others are self-involved rather than selfless. It’s similar to the effect on a sports team where one player ignores the rest of the team. By refusing to connect musically with the group, playing without listening, or not preparing adequately, a musician is essentially breaking the agreement. Trust is lost because the musical goal is no longer shared.

A violation of musical trust usually accompanies a break in emotional trustfriends-438438_1280

When there’s a lack of emotional trust in a group, the music is sure to suffer. What seems to be merely an off-stage matter eventually shows up in the performance. Music carries an authenticity that words can sometimes hide.

How then can we build trust within our musical groups?

We do so by being honest in both our words and our music; by infusing our harmonies with humility; by acknowledging our trust in and dependence on our fellow musicians.

Off stage, our words must reflect the same authenticity expressed on the stage.

Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head. (Ephesians 4:15, Contemporary English Version)

Trust is built like a well-constructed composition, with every note and phrase meant to build up the whole.

May the words you say be as truthful as the notes you play.

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