I should share something that Yo-Yo talked about at the open Civic Orch. rehearsal I went to last month.
He addressed a concern among young musicians preparing auditions: along a continuum with traditional or ‘metrical’ performance at one end and total interpretive freedom / individualistic style on the other, on which side would it be best to land?
Yo-Yo’s response was that this dichotomy obscures the idea behind good practice. Musicians should practice every passage traditionally and also with a *variety* of different stylistic approaches. Freedom isn’t playing a piece differently than everyone else, but rather is the ability (gained through practice) to choose *in the moment* the best way to play a passage. This is the root of expressive playing and musical freedom.