Context for things I have said….
Our recent open house reminded me that I have been neglectful in my promise to myself maintain an effort to always explain more elegantly, and more clearly, the nature of my work with the students, and how it will scientifically provide a better life for them.
It was helpful that this realization was coupled with the experience of having to explain about my program to countless perspective parents.
In hindsight, one thing I realize I often omit in my explanations, probably because it alone takes some time to digest, is how I define the notion of music itself for the work I present.
To understand what music is in the way I experience it daily, and for what it is with youth, it can be useful to say a few things what it isn’t. Some of these things are easy to imagine for parents because parents are more able to see the world through the innocent eyes of a child: It isn’t used to sell things. It isn’t used as background. It isn’t to segue. It isn’t about the glamour or the power of the performer. It is not the passive pressing play of a recording.
Conversely, it is useful to consider the question, what are the uses of music common to all cultures throughout all history in humanity? These aspects of music are what arise out of the core of what we are, and are observably closest to the essential world of youth: Music as a vessel for understanding the Sacred and our inner world, Music as celebration of playfulness and joy in community, Music as a reframing force in society.
For grown-ups, I recommend this exercise: Turn off or, at minimum be cognizant of the times of the first category. Secondly, engage in the work of second category, seek out the live performances of sacred music of all cultures, get up and dance even if you don’t know how, be brought to conscience by the artists who bring us past the limitations of our own perceiving. Even, at minimum, if you are pressing play, make an extra effort to actually enter into the music you are hearing, move, and be moved.
This is the world I share with the students.