What were my parents thinking when they insisted I take piano lessons? What was my dad thinking when he carted me off to the Louisville Academy of Music and Monday night jazz ensemble practice? Did they think I’d give it up for doorman or construction?
Music is much more than an occupation or diversion it’s a must in our world. It’s the line where sanity and peace connect - a place where we all want to reside even if it only last a few minutes at a time.
I’m always taken back with how many people who have toiled years at jobs they wished never to have participated in want to learn an instrument as they retire. I think that is wonderful and it also reaffirms my commitment and good fortune befriending this vital element of the universe when I was thirteen.
I enjoy reading writer/critic Bob Lesfstez’s daily rants but there is something entirely missing from his column – humanity! Playing an instrument isn’t about selling as many recordings as Katie Perry or climbing over others for stardom – its community affirmation – a line of communication between us that happens on many levels.
There are choirs were people sing and bond and walk away that evening thinking just maybe I heard a bit of Yolanda Adams in my performance. Dammit – that’s good. It’s the kid in a classroom who has been hammering away at a pattern or dry academic set of scales who momentarily solves the puzzle and sounds a full paragraph of keenly placed notes that make a statement – that make sense. It’s a hall full of people in dance who lose themselves to the beat – the joy of the moment the passion of the night. It’s the two year old tinkering on a toy box of sound who already hears what they want to hear in life – more! It’s the guy who rummages through old vinyl stores looking for that mysterious recording that continually eludes. It’s that senior whose arthritic hands can still form a chord whose heart burst wide open every time a melody from the past is replayed.
Music belongs to all of us – you can package and sell but you can’t deny every soul on this planet their right to immerse themselves in the aural colors of the rainbow. The critic will always speak of those at the top – fair enough but the real action is far away from the rare few – it’s in your home and the heart!