As I sit here, listening to a CD of young musicians playing Mozart, my mind turns to tomorrow and the day I will spend with eight other professionals, assessing who of the 16 young hopeful musicians will go through to the finals of The Young Belgian Talent, classical music competition. Then my mind turns to a recent conversation about goals, dedication and sacrifice to achieve one’s dream.

There can be no doubt of the number of hours a classical musician must invest learning their craft and then the even greater amount, as their future unfolds. Hundreds of days a year away from home, their families and loved ones. It takes a minimum of 10,000 hours for a gifted musician to master an instrument, which means for a talented young person who has to also go to school, do homework, prepare for exams and the rest, that there can be no computer games, no serious boyfriends or girl-friends, no Saturday afternoons kicking around town, in fact none of the things that most youngsters spend their time on.  And for what? The hope to realise the dream of a solo performance in one of the world’s great concert halls; a CD of their own, an interview on the radio, an appearance on TV.  But if this is to be realised, it can never be these goals alone that drives them on but the love of playing music itself.  The pure joy of it.   Music must be in their heart and soul. It must be their reason for living.

And when you think of your work-life balance, how much would you be prepared to give up to achieve your career goals? A Saturday or Sunday here or there or perhaps everything? No one can decide for you, we all make choices and continue to make them throughout our lives. I wonder who of the 16 tomorrow will be chosen and how hard those who didn’t make it, will work to win a place next time?

Have a good week


To find out more information on the ‘Young Belgian Talent’ competition click here: