Friday, April 20, 2012

Making Music Happen

12041701blue-notes72Image: Blue Notes Guitar, 8.5”x11” on 110lb paper, more details, available at Etsy
We all have memorable life moments, some large and some small. Some are so minor, we may wonder why they are there at all. One of my smallest but most memorable of my moments happened on a hot summer night. All of our windows were open in hopes of cool air. We were at home, it was a weekend, I was sleeping in bed. Nothing about this is the least bit special. All of it is very routine. But I was awakened by the sound of singing, multiple teen-aged voices raised in harmony, music rising from the streets and wending its way into my dreams. This was a beautiful moment, spontaneous and joyful, but the fact that such a simple thing is so incredibly memorable is also sad.
It drives home the point that for most of us, most of the time, music is something that only very special famous people do, and music is something that we hear reproduced electronically. When we hear music, the musician is nowhere to be found, and often, when we hear the music, the quality is considerably downgraded, piped in through the tiny speakers of a big box store, blasted in through our ears at a restaurant, pounded into our houses by some drivers sub-woofer speakers, none of it chosen by us for pure pleasure and all of it a poor reproduction of the real thing.  It cheapens the experience, and strips it of any aspect of the sublime.
But the real thing is rare, and we are accustomed by the cheap and easy availability of reproductions from professionals to only want the best: not the best in your community, city, or province, but the best in and the most popular in the entire wide world. We are fast approaching 8 billion human souls on the planet, so be being the best is pretty much out of reach for most of us.  And so we listen, passively, at every turn, and forget to make our own music. And teenagers belting out a song using nothing but their own vocal chords becomes a rare and secret pleasure.
At the same time, for ourselves, the bar is raised so high for being a ‘musician’ that there seems no point in making the attempt. But hearing teen voices raised in song was my first clue, and my second clue where the first notes I heard when my husband took up piano (electric) and I realized I enjoyed listening to his beginner efforts (he’s even better now) far more than anything on the radio.  This revelation led me to pull my guitar out of the closet for the first time in many years and re-learn how to play the thing (actually, I’ve named him Edward, but that’s another story).  And my husband and I enjoy each others music, ‘mistakes and all’. Our next goal, is get out and enjoy other folks live music. Not rock concerts, not opera, but local folk, close to home; maybe they have day jobs, and maybe they are not the best and most popular, but they are making music, and loving music and doing their best to share it with the world.  I hope you do too, even if you just pull a pot out of the cupboard and bang it as a drum.
12041702bluenotes72cDetail of Blue Notes #3, the whole darned original art thing, and info at Etsy.
PS. As for that goal of listening to live music, I may start here: Covernotes Tea and Coffee House Acoustic Monday (if only it wasn’t Monday’s, well, someday…)


Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

i miss playing an instrument. I was never perfect at it, but I did enjoy it. Loved playing the piano, the sound just lifts my soul. loved the trumpet for the noise :p and the blues sounds. the flute I just loved the noise, probably my favourite to play. it could be so dreamy and woodsy sounding but at the same time very hectic.

music is such a huge part of me, i need some kind of music and always love it when I find anther musical artist or group that I connect with.

music can cause so many different emotions for me that it used to influene my art heavily, not so much anymore as I have learned to seperate the music from my art....not really a good thing sometimes :/

kaslkaos said...

I think this is the most moving comment I've read. Blogs are so much about 'me', it all seems like navel gazing until I read your comment, so deeply personal and all about 'you'. It's lovely to read this, although sad too, as there is yearning here. Thanks for sharing, and wishing you much music in your life...sing, sing, sing.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

thank you :)

i love singing, just don't in public :p

Michelle Basic Hendry said...

Yup - I love music too. I find so many different aspects of creativity influence each other; writing, music, painting... I remember playing one piece over and over while painting. The emotion in the music matched the emotion for the piece.

I have never had any talent with an instrument! Really cannot sing either... LOL!


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