Why the musical journey beats the end result
You might be aware that I was mentored as a musician by the late Serge Ermoll junior. He was a prolific jazz pianist and composer on the Sydney jazz scene.
Although Serge was based in Sydney most of his life, he still managed to play with amazing musicians. Such as Branford Marsalis, Sonny Stitt, Herb Ellis, Ray Brown, Jimmy Witherspoon, Enerstine Anderson and many more.
Serge used to have a saying of “when the means becomes greater than the goal, that’s when true art takes place”. Put another way, the journey you travel to your goal is more important than the goal.
Because of what you become.
Let’s say that you have an incredible desire to become a world-class musician, painter, speaker, or writer. That desire will drive you to do some pretty amazing things to get there. You will probably also encounter things you possibly don’t wish to encounter as part of that journey. But you’ll deal with that and personally develop in ways you never would have if you hadn’t stepped out to pursue something great.
It is what you become through that process of getting to your goal that will give you the character, patience, and experience to make your art what it is. Great.
Whilst Serge’s comment was about the idea of growing as a musician, it applies to many things in life.
The big lesson Serge was teaching came down to this. The greatness that so many wish to achieve in their art is developed when one is deeply involved in the moment of getting there. Not when you actually get there. Therefore, enjoy the moment and allow it to make your art great. Focus on the journey if you want true art to take place.
Check out Serge and his band playing Blues For Duane below. Taken from a live TV broadcast in the 1990s featuring Jimmy Mitchell on bass, Alan Turnbull on drums, and Keith Sterling on trumpet. Sadly Serge, Alan and Keith are no longer with us.