Performance and Will
This past year’s performances:
The Thacher Book Fair
The Peace Day Ceremony
The Hunger Banquet
Amp at Fuller Village
Amp at Winter Hill
Amp at Braintree Manor, Brain Rehab Facility
Amp/Studio Music/Alum Benefit to raise awareness for the Blue Hill Observatory at University Station Mall
Studio Music Concert
Beatles in school
Beatles for parents
The After Care Variety Show
Last year the school saw 11 formal music presentations as well as three other events where musicians and music from the school played a major role.
In the last few weeks of school over 46 pieces of music were performed by the various classes and small groups. (On top of this, four songs were cut from various set lists, so we could have hit 50….)
Much has been written about the benefits of music education. It is worth considering the space of performance in this process.
The word performance derives from the French roughly as “par = thoroughly, furmer = to completion”.
But what is coming to completion?
There is always a heightened energy around performance. The people in it get nervous. Things can go wrong, and generally do. In the professional world, variables are managed with the highest level of control, but even here nothing is entirely certain. The opposition between the wish to manifest, and the nature of making contrary things work becomes heightened. As we prepare, one can observe, at times, destructive attitudes. Perfectionism: where the inner vision is too rigid to adapt to the constraints of the moment, shuts down the process with a constricting dissonance between the ‘how it should be’ and the ‘how it is’, sometimes halting it altogether. On other hand, the destruction of lack of preparation, where the vision has no drive and the event is left unnurtured; something is lost here too.
But what is it that reconciles this struggle between a vision and the details to make it real?
It can be said that what we see in performance is the Will. Moreover in a group context, one can see a Collective or Community Will. Will can be hard to define in terms of experience. Some would say it is a sum total of our ability, our state of consciousness, and our character, others might say it is the nexus of what we are and what we can do. Perhaps it is even more than that.
Will connects to our consciousness in a way which is different than the various parts of our functioning, such as our body, or our thinking, or our feelings. Moments where our will is center of our attention can bring impressions which are very different to what we mostly deal with in life. One common observation is that the Will experiences time differently from the various parts of our functioning. Will is experienced in a state of flow, integrating the different aspects of ourselves which each sense time in different ways. Somehow Will reconciles these aspects.
When connected to our will, it is also common to have a sense that the an event is reaching from the future to the present, organizing what it needs to make itself possible, sometimes beyond the capacities or resources of what appears possible. This impression can be jarring if the ego of the person experiencing it is used to experiencing itself as the source of all action. That the wholeness of an event can be an organizing force before it actually begins is a common perception in events having “a life of their own”. Indeed much is done at Thacher to create a safe and supported space so that impressions like these can be explored and integrated into our understanding.
In teaching where the cultivation of Will is undertaken, there must be this moment in the process: where what we have learned is presented as an act of understanding, where we have to stand and act ‘on our own two feet’. There is, however, more to this than a seeming objectification and proving of an ability. Richer than this is the real experience that we, as living beings, not only transform, but are ourselves transformed by our work. That we, through our practice and preparation, participate in the creation of our abilities, which in turn serve greater wholenesses, which call us forward from the future, creative moments which may be waiting for us even now, inspiring us to vitality and to order.
Here are some additional favorite moments from the year:
AP performing for brain rehab patients:
One Upper El class presenting to the school.
Also here are Dave (Sally’s Dad) Jamrog’s very professional videos of both the studio music concert and the Beatles concert: