the experience of music

I was thinking, during tonight’s rehearsal, how one’s experience of music is so impacted by the instrument through/with which one engages with it. There are legions of music jokes about every different orchestra instrument, about conductors, about singers. There are stereotypes about violinists, violists, drummers, etc. Ultimately, of course, we’re all in this together, this strange and wonderful business of art-making, music-playing, self-expressing, idea-conveying. But our roles and responsibilities can vary widely, and the music can demand very different things of us. If one is a singer whose job it (sometimes) is to ham it up, that’s quite different from the (sometimes) job of the cellist to create the foundation, be solid and reliable. During one of tonight’s tunes, our foundation-making was sloggy. We were dragging. I thought of Monty Python, and the sinking castle in the “Holy Grail”.

What can I say? I am weird, and I am a geek.

Being a mom has ironically given me more empathy for the conductor who’s trying to corral her troops, get individual people or sections to pay attention, follow directions, do their part, while also keeping the bigger picture firmly in mind. Tonight it brought to mind the degree to which I have to focus my attention on teaching when I’m at home and the chaos quotient in my domestic scene is high. I think that elementary classroom teachers and conductors must have some fair overlap in their skill sets.

Anyway, I think I’m going to pull up my Beatles tunes on my iPod this weekend and play some of them for Hazel. They are fun to sing, and then she’ll have some idea of what I’m doing at my gig. I am very curious if she’ll be interested in doing music (or the other two, for that matter). Today Joanna was banging on a drum. Who knows, maybe we’ll wind up with a garage band of sisters.


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