According to Rich
Philosophies on music, jazz, education, and life
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ON THE INCREDIBLE GIFT...

"Music is an incredible gift.  It's a gift that God doesn't give to everybody.  He gives them the gift of 'liking' music; everybody likes music of one kind or another.  But the gift of being able to learn to play music is an incredible gift.  And you people are very special because you were chosen and given that gift.   The day you were born the world became richer than it was because of your presence with that gift.  That's what I believe. 

And so you study and you work hard to develop the talent that God gave you, and the wild thing is that the bucket of talent you were given is so big, that you could practice 8 hours a day the rest of your life and you wouldn't use it all up, you couldn't develop it all.  

But as I told the band yesterday, this gift you've been given does many things.  For example, you people grant immortality to composers.  Bach is not dead, Beethoven's not dead, Mozart's not dead, Duke isn't dead.  The body's gone, but what they gave to the world on paper that made the world richer than it was before.  They gave the world all this beautiful music and they put it on paper, and because it's on paper it's just a graph.  It doesn't mean anything until you come along, and with the breath of your body, you take that musical instrument and you read that music and you change it to sound.  And the minute you change it to sound, Bach is not dead, neither is Beethoven.  Their music is being heard, and what they represent to the world, because of your gift.  That's how special you are!

Whatever band you're in, it doesn't make any difference if you're playing first chair or third or fourth, your part is important and you are special, because you were given that gift."
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