Wednesday, April 4, 2012

For Love of Music

Marc Chagall stained glass windows at the Art Institute of Chicago

A painter paints pictures on canvas.
But musicians paint their pictures on silence.
~Leopold Stokowski

Music isn't really about black notes on a white page. It isn't just about breathing correctly (though it certainly helps). You can know the right fingering to play a "C" or "D" on a trumpet or clarinet and still not truly make music.

True music is found in the crescendos and decrescendos. It's found in the pianissimo and the double forte. It's found in telling the story through song. It's even told in the silence ... that little pause before delivering the final phrase.

Today, I'll be in a school Suburban, on the road by 6:30 AM and journeying toward South Barber Schools in Kiowa. It's middle school music festival day, the day toward which we've been working since January. I have 26 different accompaniments to play - two choir pieces, three vocal ensembles and the rest, vocal and instrumental solos.

In some ways, it feels like we've been practicing forever. In other ways, I think, "If only we had one more day to tell them this ..."

I've been accompanying for the school for 17 years now. I first started when Brent was a first grader.

I'm not doing it to get rich. But then again ... maybe I am. Maybe I get rich when I hear a girl lean into a musical phrase, and I get goosebumps. It might be when a singer discovers the way to get the music delivered beyond the front row. Or maybe it's when the drummer and I actually end the piece at the same time - a minor miracle!

Hmmmm ... I guess I'm getting rich after all.

My prayer for the middle school musicians today is that they do their best. Yes, I want them to breathe correctly. I hope they sing or play the right notes. It would be great if they remember the words. But more than that, I want them to deliver not only the notes, but the music.

Play the music, not the instrument.
~Author Unknown

That goes for the accompanist, too. And if you would, please say a little prayer for me, Mr. Gill and all the students.

Music washes away from the soul
the dust of everyday life.

~Berthold Auerbach

I won't be sitting still long enough today to collect any dust!

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