Friday, December 11, 2009
Stop and hear the music...
This video sent to me by a friend today "struck home", probably more so because of how I relate to the situation. Having studied classical music for almost 10 years as a child and devoting a number of my earliest years to the "business of music" touring full time on the road as a musician in my 20s...I can relate to the challenge of reaching the average person with the art of music. Even now 30 years later I find myself amazed at how clueless and non tuned-in the average human is to real art, whether it be musical or visual.
Our lives have been overrun so much by the push for the almighty dollar and acceptance in the eyes of society around us...most of us have no awareness of all there is around us to absorb and experience from a spiritual or emotional sense. More and more we appear as robots, guided by what is programmed into us by the mass media and the immediate social influences around us. Individuality is a dying art as most humans apply every waking moment to "fitting in" or measuring up to the expectations of external forces. How can anyone truly be open to their senses and core humanity with all this flak bouncing off our brains like errant electrons around a nucleus?
One thing living in a 3rd world country will do if you are in touch with where you are is make you appreciate the potential simplicity of life...remembering the importance of taking time to "smell the roses" or "hear the music". I was quite encouraged this week as I played with my band here in Panama at a popular place I call my neighborhood "hangout". Many of the people in the crowd were people I have known for a year or more but had not been aware of my music background. It was interesting to observe the reactions of some. Some of the people I knew seemed actually quite uncomfortable to see me in the role of performer/musician. I find that many people are uncomfortable if you don't fit the stereotypes or confinements of the box they had you pegged for. And if you are trying to convey a song or meaning of a piece of art on them...there is this look of a "deer peering into the headlights". They really want to see and understand...but their inability to understand completely makes them nervous and in many cases they want to hustle out of there...much like many of the people in the above video scurried away from the performance of a world renown violinist.
On the other hand, I am always gratified when I see someone react to a song, especially if it is one they are hearing for the first time. When they stop in their tracks or in mid conversation at their table...it is one of those "ah hah" moments that to me is more worthwhile than what pittance of payment most artists gain. Its the moment when someone tunes into the "universal language" of music. And when couples or even individuals get out of their seats and dance to the music no matter that there is no dance floor or pressure to do so...well, that is another truly human connection moment...both for them and the performer.
I encourage all of us to spend more time in our short lives stopping to "hear the music" or observe the art...even if it is the art of nature around us. I believe it can add years to our lifespans...or at least quality to the relatively few years we have left to live.