What Musicians Can Learn From the Movie Amadeus

One of the most well-known and celebrated films involves the rivalry between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri. It is most well-known for showing Salieri’s bitter resentment and hatred of Mozart, which would define his following actions.

Here are several lessons that can be learned from watching the film Amadeus.

1. In the world of music, there is always someone better.

This fact remains true regardless of the field one specializes in, but it should still be said. There is always someone out there who is better than that one person in his or her chosen talent or job.

This should be accepted, rather than plotted against or hated the way Salieri reacted toward Mozart. Don’t let someone else’s skill level affect your drive to succeed.

2. Conflict between musicians prevents their true potential.

During the movie, Salieri’s hatred for Mozart results in the former trying to sabotage the latter’s career, preventing Mozart from gaining recognition while he was alive. Not until Mozart’s untimely death would his works finally be accepted by many as masterpieces.

Musicians who do not manage to work together or come to accept another’s talent can miss out on the chance to work with a true talent, the way Salieri did when he chose to act on his hatred.

3. One’s musical legacy can be surprising.

In the film, Salieri’s hatred was based on the fear of being supplanted by Mozart. Indeed, after Mozart’s death, Salieri in the film would end up being forgotten, while Mozart’s works would be far more famous.

However, musicians who fixate on being recognized can be twisted by this obsession. One would be better off to let the recognition come after playing one’s music (indeed, this film would be responsible for sparking interest in Salieri’s music in real life).

Amadeus is a powerful film of obsession, desire for recognition, and envy combined with some of the greatest classical music from some of the greatest composers in history. It is a film that speaks not only to musicians, but to anyone who watches it.

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Kevin Kwon is a recent graduate from UC Berkeley, currently 23 years old. He works in San Francisco, and hopes to continue in the graduate studies regarding the field of psychology.