Discipline and the Pursuit of Greatness

Tomorrow we open In Transit: #thisrocks with its first public performance at Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center, and on Friday we perform it again at the Chicago Park District's Indian Boundary Park.  We hope you're able to make it to witness this beautiful combination of music and visuals which tells the moving journey of a young cello player.  The post below, written by In Transit director Robert Quinlan, shares his reflections on the discipline it takes to thrive in the performing arts, or arts of any kind.  The upcoming Fifth House concert, #thisrocks, tells the story of Tanya Ramirez, a young woman whose life is transformed by a teacher who introduces her to the cello.  She first discovers her passion for music when that teacher takes her on a class trip to hear Yo Yo Ma.  At that moment, she decides that her dream is to become a famous musician and share the stage with her hero.  It is that same teacher who insists that discipline is necessary to achieve the degree of excellence she desires as a musician.  At times, Tanya questions the need for her teachers to demand so much of her.  She asks them to back off.  But it is this commitment to rigorous practice that eventually changes her outlook on life.

Working on #thisrocks has reminded me of the way great teachers both inspire students and hold them to high standards.  The study of the arts has a unique way of instilling the value of long-term dedication to honing a skill.  This daily rigor can then be applied to a student’s work outside the arts.  Tanya ultimately appreciates that her teachers have pushed her to reach her potential and looks to teaching as a way to give back to others.

As a visitor to Fifth House from the world of theatre, I am impressed by the commitment of the ensemble members both as musicians and educators.  They inspire the next generation of artists through their virtuosic skill, innovative programming, as well as actively working as teachers themselves.  They continue to push themselves and each other to create the excellent work that moves the arts forward, inspiring young people like Tanya to dedicate themselves to a craft.


The above picture was taken (on a cell phone) of Drew, Adam, and Herine during our last run through of In Transit: #thisrocks.