Sunday, October 12, 2014

Making Music

I got into a conversation with another musician last week. It started when I asked some people to tell me about what spiritual means to them. One of the people smiled and said, "Playing music!" We then talked about different ways that works. For me, I said, it is usually when a group I am in plays in public- a performance. I can't even begin to describe what that means. I play in a couple concert bands, a brass quintet, and a big band group. I can get bored sometimes with rehearsing. [Do we have to play that song again? Don't we know it good enough?] I can get tired of the same old, same old. [How many times do we have to play "In the Mood"?]

Then we get to the gig. It can be a dance, a concert, a recital or playing at a senior living center. The drummer kicks off the beat, the director gives the downbeat or the lead trumpet nods the tempo. My mind goes into gear. We play. It makes sense. This is why we practice. This is why we rehearse. This is why I do lip slurs or scales to keep my lip in shape. It's about the music that moves out of us and into the world around us. It's about he music that we translate from those black dots on the white page into a classic like "In the Mood" or a concert version of "Stars and Stripes Forever" or the quintet playing Gabrielli. The child in the first row begins to dance, the woman in the wheelchair sways back and forth, the audience smiles at a familiar song, or someone hears a 400 year old melody that moves them.

The connection is made and we play. What a moment, or better series of moments. Every now and then it doesn't work. Sometimes the audience doesn't get it. They may sit there with detached interest. Or, and this has happened, we are too far away from the audience and can't get the feedback.

It is a relationship and I love it.

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