While on holiday, I read this piece in the New Yorker. It's a more or less standard tear-jerker junkfest, although I don't mean to minimize the suffering of the players in it.
The summary is that a young chinese boy is raised to play the violin, exhibits great technical proficiency but lacks emotion. He goes on to Facebook to do that Facebook thing (I don't quite see how it's a Tech Pioneer as such), and after a while gets diagnosed with incurable, fast moving, brain cancer. In the last few months of his life he finally breaks through and learns to play with feeling. Of course he does.
The piece is poor exploitation, of course.
But set that aside, what we have here is a young man who spent, I don't know, a decade or two, being told that his playing was shit, because he wasn't emoting. Yes, yes, technical chops, but so what? It was shit. We see in the piece that he felt Joshua Bell was prone to "over-emoting," can you imagine the hubris? Here's some guy who's been told, repeatedly and consistently by his teachers that his playing sucks because he's unemotional. This guy looks at one of the finest violinists on the planet, and says "he's over-emoting." But of course he sees the light at the end, and gives a couple of brilliant performances and so on.
Dying of brain cancer, or seeing a loved one die of it, sounds extremely unpleasant. And, I am glad that Mr. Sun ended up with some performances he was truly proud of before the end. Good for him. That doesn't detract from the remarkable hubris on display, though.
The lesson here is, I suppose, that if everyone is shouting at you to be more emotional, maybe you should pay attention.
More generally, I think the lesson is to be open, to expose yourself. If you're not pushing it to the point of discomfort, you're probably reading as robotic and closed. The medium, any medium, tends to drain emotional energy from the message. You have to put double the amount in if you want any to come out the other side.
Or something like that.