The importance of understanding the song
Understanding the musical theory can help you play any musical instrument or sing —after a lot of practice, of course—; but that does not make someone a full musician per se. Real music goes beyond lots of talent or technical proficiency while singing or playing an instrument. Music requires a person sensitive enough to understand what he is playing or singing, someone able to transmit what the original author had in mind when he composed it. After all, music is art, and it deserves to be treated as such.
This detail is often overlooked by amateur musicians, so I wanted to stress it somewhere. Aspiring musicians must always take their studies beyond the piano lessons or the singer rehearsal. They must understand what they are playing or singing; what the composer was living or experiencing when he created the song. Failing to do so might make you play a song by Bach without giving it that heavy —almost dark— Baroque feeling its music is known for. Failing to understand the lyrics may make you sing it as if it were a romantic ballad instead of the hate for infidelity it was supposed to transmit.
This is also why the presence of a music director is important for all groups of musicians, regardless of whether they are small choirs or large symphonic orchestras. In case of doubts or ambiguity, it is him who will make the final decision on how he would like the song to sound before an audience.
A full musician is a cultivated person. Every apprentice should keep this in mind all the time.
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