My passion is to help others in the community, young, old, and everyone in between, find relevance and joy in learning, performing or listening to classical music.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

When making music is just as powerful as the music itself

I find performing with young musicians magical.  Not all the time, of course, but you'd be surprised how many times it is.  And when I experience one of those moments, I want to scoop it up, place it in a bottle, and place it on a shelf right above my piano at home.  

Tonight I have one new bottle to place on that shelf.

Today's performance was a "book recital" given by a local high-schooler.  (A book recital, for those of you who haven't heard that term is a recital by one student of all of the pieces in a given Suzuki book).  As I was driving over to her house, I realized that I hadn't even seen an invitation for the recital.  Usually folks send them out via e-mail to the entire studio.  When I arrived at her house, about 15 minutes prior to the performance I noticed that there weren't any other cars around. 

"How curious," I thought. 

 I went inside and chatted with her and her family until it was time for the recital to start.  We picked up our things and walked across the street to a neighbor's house.  

"This is getting more interesting," was my next thought.  

We were greeted by an elderly couple, the man, in a wheelchair, and were brought into their living room that had a small upright piano against one wall.  We reorganized the room a bit to accomodate a performance situation, tuned up, then waited.  At this point, I was still waiting for more guests to arrive but that never happened.  After the video-camera had been turned on and the girl's parents and were settled, I got the "I'm ready" look so my hands leapt to the keyboard.

"OK, Here we go." 

And we did.  We performed for four people that really wanted to be there.  We performed for four people that really wanted to hear some music.  We performed in a house that rarely, if ever, has live music resonating within its walls.  And at the end of it all, the woman whose house we were playing in, said, "Encore!" 

"Encore?!  We don't have an encore," I thought. But then I changed that to "Wait, how about Twinkle?" (This girl was way past Twinkle level!")

"What key?" I asked.

"D."

"OK." 

And so we played one verse of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."  And when I say "we" I mean the cellist and I of course, but also the girl's neighbors - they sang!  Her parents may have sung too, I'm not sure.  It was wonderful.  It was magical.   It was only "Twinkle".  

When we were done, the woman from across the street had tears in her eyes, as did her husband, I believe, and they couldn't stop thanking us.  

It turns out the cellist didn't want a lot of people at this performance.  She is a beautiful girl, but also quite shy and I think she deals with some nerve issues when it comes to memorizing and performing.  So she decided to own the recital - she set it up the way she wanted it.  She played for only four people, in a small setting, with her music.  And you know what?  I've never heard her play as well as she did this afternoon.  As I was leaving, I asked her if she had fun and she answered, "Yes!"

What could be better than that? What could be better than music?  Making music can be better.  Sharing music can be better.  And making music with others can be better than the music alone.  

I had no words when I left to return home.  I simply smiled inside and out.  

I'm going to go find a good place for that bottle now.

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