As a musician, what is your definition of success?
Spending time doing things that are truthful and honest.
What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?
Short answer is: see above. Longer answer is: use your brain with as much or more rigor than you use your fingers (or arms or throat, as it were). I find this to be true in my own playing, that the digital execution part always suffers without a proportional amount of attention paid to its musical purpose. What is the idea and why does it have to be this way? What are viable alternatives? Does the idea service a larger goal? Just like reading critically, one has to maintain a constant internal dialogue about meaning. This, for me, is the correct direction of workflow – letting the brain inform the fingers. Another thing I find myself discussing a lot in my own teaching is being in touch with the character of abstract elements. What I mean is that basic syntactical, or perhaps atotomical, elements in music contain huge amount of potential expressive energy. The difference between a rising third and a falling fifth, for example, or the way hyperrhthmic structures can compress or expand to create excitement or spaciousness. It’s been important for my own sense of what it means to express something in music to explore these basic ingredients and figure out why they behave the way they do.