Composer John Adams recently gave a brilliant commencement address to the graduating class of Juilliard. Brilliant in my mind because he asked them to continue challenging themselves over their careers, to reinvent themselves now and then, and to always look for fresh approaches and discoveries.
He also addressed the amount of dedication it takes to achieve in the arts, something I think the general public has no idea about. Does the "average" person on the street have any idea how many hours professional musicians practice? they would be shocked to know! Or consider the thousand of hours they already put into the art by the time they were even old enough for college. Along with those hours comes many an hour of doubt and soul-searching.
Well, now I am almost starting to rewrite Adam's speech... so instead here is the speech itself, via nonesuch records: