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Part 1:What would you say to your 23-year-old self?

Do you ever wonder what you would do differently if you could go back in time?  As we wrap up 2017, we asked a few people from the 80+ musicians who have performed with Pocket Concerts:

"What would you say to your 23-year-old self?"

It's been inspiring getting the responses and reading them, and we are happy to share them with you all. This one is Part 1 of 3, so keep reading!


Marie Bérard

Concertmaster, Canadian Opera Company Orchestra

"There is a universal truth which the young are all too

infrequently surprised into acknowledging,

and then with a sense of having been violently brought up short,

which is that, as they are now, so too were the old, once.”

- John Banville, Mrs. Osmond: A novel

This quote means a lot to me as it describes so well what I would say to my 23 year-old self. I truly believe in the importance of learning from the people and colleagues older than we are, and remembering they were once just like us is crucial to the growth of a person and musician.

I would also say to that young person: Play every concert to the very best of your ability and involvement, you just don’t know who will be where and when!

- Marie Bérard


Amahl Arulanandam

Freelance cellist

At 23 I feel like I was in somewhat of an interesting place in my development.  I had quit the cello in my teens, and come back to it in my early 20s, and as such, at 23 I found myself in my second and third years of my undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto.  I was 3-5 years older than almost everyone else in my year, and to me at the time that felt like a big deal.  Our studio was fairly close, but right from the beginning I felt like I was playing catch-up to an extreme degree, so I spent an exorbitant amount of time buried in the basement of the Edward Johnson Building.  

I wouldn't change a lot about my time going through U of T, but there are a few things I'd do differently at that point.  Mostly, I'd tell myself to take care of my body and mindway more than I did.  Lots of early mornings and late nights of practicing followed by alcohol-fuelled good times resulted in some strain injuries that still nag me and flare up to this day.  The practice room will always be there - your health will not.  Take care of yourself so you can ensure you'll enjoy the fruits of your hard work for a long, long time.

- Amahl Arulanandam