I have always respected talented musicians. This may be in part from having only a trace of musical ability myself. Maybe I simply respected their confidence in performing even when the audience seemed inattentive.
In undergrad, for some reason, I associated primarily with musicians—-percussionists, guitar players, keyboardists--and enjoyed their performances immensely. I even was a roadie at a few summer concerts for a friend’s band, but of course they broke up when school started again. Back then, I seemed to be more aware of the ignored beauty of music.
I even took a few months of piano lessons as a sophomore, but really struggled to plink-out a two-handed version of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” I found the lessons more entertaining just in watching the mannerisms of my instructor. She was a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School and offered instruction in her home-—lessons that included distractions from time to time. She seemed frustrated or perhaps underappreciated.
At least once per visit, her young children would storm into the house rough-housing, and my teacher would transform into a professional bouncer (grimacing with muscles bulging), scold them in a loud threatening outburst, and send them back outside. She was probably glad that I stopped the lessons after a semester in that I drove her crazy with my preference to memorize the practice pieces instead of sight-reading them.
YouTube has been wonderful for me to see gifted yet unknown or not well-known musicians. It reinforces my believe that there is talent all over the world, and despite what music promoters want us to believe, Blessed musicians are not shaped from a cookie-cutter and who work as undergarment models on the side.
The lack of respect that many talented musicians receive is also thought-provoking. One of the guitarists that I most admire has a Tube video showing him playing on a street corner somewhere in Europe, as people walk by ignoring his performance and collection hat.
I was especially saddened by this video of Tony MacAlpine, an accomplished musician, playing piano at a trade show several years ago:
MacAlpine is performing several difficult compositions by Chopin (Correction: the audio of MacAlpine playing Chopin's Etude #4, Opus #10 is here) and barely attracting a handful of listeners. You would think that the attendees would at least stay until he was finished—-maybe that is just the Southerner in me.
Philosopher Erich Fromm stated: “Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.”
Perhaps, while immersed in my own issues, I am missing some grand performance as the people in the video did. Maybe, with some reflection, I still have time to alter my course; to stop and see the precious smile on my daughter's little face, and to listen to that Chopin playing before the final note.
9 hours ago