My dirty secret, as a musician, is that I enjoy listening to recordings more than going to concerts. Not because the quality is better–I’m often as happy to listen to a good student group as the symphony–but because I don’t have to watch the group performing without me.
Derek Sivers asks “what do you hate not doing?”
I hate not performing music. It’s one thing to listen to a recording, to know that the performance already happened. The actual performance is far enough separated from you that you can put the thought of participating aside and concentrate on the sounds.
It’s quite another to watch it in front of me, close enough to just run up onto the stage and join them. And especially hard to be in the audience for beautiful pieces I’m unlikely ever to play (works that need a large orchestra, for example)–knowing that the performers are in the middle of creating something beautiful and that I have to just watch. I hate not being part of it. Meanwhile, hearing someone perform something I can’t–a guitarist, for example, or a men’s choir–has nowhere near the same effect.
It’s nowhere near as compelling to play alone in my room; if it were perhaps I would practice more.