Earlier in the night, at around 10.30pm, I had mad cravings for instant noodles (or instant ramen, or Maggi noodles as the generic term we call every type of instant noodles here, regardless of brand). I was really hungry because my dinner was so unsatisfying, and whenever I’m hungry I would crave for instant noodles.
I snuck out of my room and into the kitchen, grabbed a packet of instant noodles and a handful of ingredients I could find in my fridge, and began cooking. When it was done and I ate, I was extremely delighted and satisfied. At that moment, it felt like I had just made the best bowl of instant noodles in my life. I have never been more satisfied eating a bowl of instant noodles.
Momentarily, a thought popped up in my head. I realised that, when I really want something, everything else didn’t matter, but I was just focused on achieving the task at hand. At the end of the day, the result will be the best I’ve ever come up with. I really wanted to eat instant noodles, I was craving for the bouncy texture and firm bite of the noodles, accompanied with a rich oily soup broth. Straightaway, I got cooking with that in mind, and the result was the most satisfying bowl of instant noodle soup that I’ve ever had in a long time. Whenever I just felt like cooking a bowl of noodles just to fill myself up, I didn’t care so much about the refinement of the taste, and as a result I whip up a mediocre-tasting bowl of noodles. I feel full, but it doesn’t really touch me, or blow my mind.
It was from that same thought that made me wonder- isn’t that the same thing as in music making? If you know the music so well you know exactly what you want to achieve and how, which is to make music and let the score come alive, you’ll do everything to make things work the way you want. The result will be very satisfying as you know you have made music. However, if you just focus on playing a piece and wanting to get through it, the result will be very mediocre and unmusical. The output is the same, but the quality is totally different because the mindsets were varied.
For me, I definitely practice wanting to make music, but when it comes to performing I get so worried about playing wrong notes that I tend to forget or disregard music making in favour of feeling safe in my comfort zone. If I had the drive and strong desire to make music, I would have done whatever it takes to make my practice bear fruits, just like my desire to cook instant noodles exactly the way I was craving for.
There is a definitely a barrier for me to cross in order to really achieve musicianship in performance, but first I need to have the same desire/thirst for music-making, to be just as strong as my desire to cook instant noodles in a way that satisfies my craving.