Friday, June 8, 2012

Time out for music appreciation

During what is perhaps the busiest week of the school year, I took time last night to go to a school concert.

This may not sound surprising, except that neither of my kids was in the concert. Despite the fact that the final weeks of school are always a madly revolving door of team banquets, school performances, classroom presentations, wrap-up meetings, and information sessions about next year, I shrugged it all off last night and spent two hours at a performance by the middle school choir, jazz ensemble and symphonic band.

Other parents who saw me there looked puzzled. “I didn’t know Tim was in the school band,” they said. It appeared that I was an anomaly, there just to hear the music.

But it seemed like the best antidote to all the rush of the past few weeks. Earlier in the week I’d attended Holly’s fourth grade band and chorus concert, but honestly, it just wasn’t the same. I was happy to see Holly and her friends on stage, but there really isn’t a lot of artistic depth at the level they’ve currently achieved. Yes, they’ve progressed a lot since they started their voice and instrument studies back in October, but it still doesn’t make for a great concert. We enjoyed their appearance on stage, but it wasn’t exactly an experience in absorbing fine music.

Hearing the middle school ensembles, on the other hand, is very much an experience in music appreciation. The sounds from stage were rich and melodious. The music was diverse and interesting.

True, I had no real reason to go to this concert. No young performer was peering out from the stage to be sure I was there. No one in my family even opted to come with me.

But sometimes when things get really busy, the answer is to opt out, even for just a couple of hours. I thought of Mahatma Gandhi’s quote about meditation: “I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.” There were a dozen things around the house I probably should have done last night between 7:30 and 9 p.m. Instead, I sat in an auditorium listening to music.

And it felt wonderful.





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