I hate referring to amateurs as amateurs. Nowadays the word has all sorts of negative connotations, instead of meaning what it should – those who love what they do. I have found in the past that some professionals can be cavalier about their trade, lose the passion and joy that brought them into it, and merely go through the motions, while those who choose to do, rather than being paid to do, retain their enthusiasm. Of course, it is great to have a hobby that is also my job (as I am often told), but the flip side of the coin is that a hobby made into a profession can become a burden unless one is very careful and proactive about the choices one makes.
I mention this because I had a slightly frustrating evening yesterday, working on some new repertoire with one of my choirs, during which I was a little disappointed by what I perceived (maybe unfairly, who knows?) as a general lack of interest, an attitude of laissez faire about the whole thing. My frustration, I am not proud to say, was voiced.
Some would say that you should not expect amateurs to aspire to professional standards, but if you do not expect the best from whoever you work with, then how are you ever going to get results? A friend of mine says that the real different between amateur and professional lies not in the exchange of money, but in the realisation that a pro can never afford to give less than 100%.
Still, the journey to London yesterday was glorious, the colours of the trees quite spectacular, and I realised that the Londoner has far less of a sense of the passage of the seasons than those outside the city. In Mitcham you had the different weathers, of course, but it was all delivered against a backdrop of concrete and grey, but I have been genuinely taken aback by the vivid greens, yellows and, especially, reds of what grows around the road.
Sadly, I was greeted upon my return home by a defunct hard drive, and while I back up on a decently regular basis, it is still a mild inconvenience at the moment. Worse things happen at sea, though, and I just need to roll up my sleeves and do a little bit of catching up. Easy when you love what you do.