Despite a number of inherent difficulties, being a musical artist is a profound privilege
I would tell myself to listen to the great vocalists to learn about portamento, how to develop greater expression in sustained notes, and to acquire better awareness of phrasing. I would also absorb the idea, historically embraced by so many celebrated composers and musicians, of the natural expression of music, to be more mindful of the characters of sound (as in expressive directives like cantabile, nobilmente and scherzando) and the accents of music (as in basic dynamics, fortepianos, sforzandos, swells, vibrato and the like). I would also strive to understand their contexts, with the goal of arriving at a naturally expressive and uncontrived interpretation.
Most importantly, I would tell myself that despite a number of inherent difficulties, being a musical artist is a profound privilege. We learn from other artists and interpret music by an astonishing number of composers. In today’s world the opportunity for this kind of collaborative and informed self-expression, which can be quite intimate, feels increasingly rare.