Renewal and Not Repetition

Here’s a quick one for the musicians and the production folks. One of the bigger challenges that comes with the work we do whether professionally or as a volunteer is we do a lot of the same things over and over again. I cross paths all the time with musicians and engineers who are quickly burning out on the songs they do. The thing is, this repetitive nature is inherently a part of our gig from rehearsals to multiple performances.

So here’s a way to look at framing this that comes out of a recent interview with Bruce Springsteen.

You say the show and stories are locked in — won’t that become repetitive for you?

I’ve played “Born to Run,” many, many times. I’m sure if we went on the internet we could find out how many. (laughs) But the key is, you have to approach it not as a repetition but as a renewal. And to do that your spirit has got to be 100 percent present. But it’s a new audience every night. There’s new faces, there’s new opportunities. Those songs have been very good to me over the years, and in return I try to be good to them. So you have a chance of renewing the emotion and the spirit in that music on a nightly basis. That’s the place I work to get to every night when I’m onstage. I think that if the foundation of what you’ve built is built well, you’ll be able to inhabit it on a nightly basis and your audience will come in and it will feel like they’re seeing it for the first time. (laughs) That’s my plan, anyway.

Every time we do a song is an opportunity to renew what it meant the first time we heard it, and the first time someone else will hear it. We never know what kind of an impact it might have on someone new or who’s really hearing it for the first time. So if you’re burning out on doing something over and over again, don’t focus on the song or the task. Focus on who it’s for and why you’re doing it to begin with.

David Stagl

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Renewal and Not Repetition