Friday, June 19, 2009
Beauty in the Eyes or Ears of the Audience
Late last week, I received an invitation from my son’s second grade teacher to go to his “Mini Recorder Concert” at the school. This was the first I heard he was playing a recorder. So I showed up Monday afternoon not knowing what to expect.
The second, third, and fourth graders were all divided into sections on the stage, with Learn the Recorder books on their stands. Although the music teacher asked them to be quiet, they all did a sort of warm-up of their own accord.
She explained that they would be playing in order of difficulty, starting with a one-note song. This was played by all three grades, pretty much on cue, but with many early or late on their execution. The next song had two notes, and the third song had three; this was the extent of the second graders’ expertise.
I watched the children’s faces as they played. Although the sound bordered on cacophonous, the looks on their faces were beautiful. They all looked so intent on mastering their notes. This was especially impressive with the boys, who usually are seen clowning around.
The second graders were ushered off the stage as the third and fourth graders played a few songs of intermediate difficulty. Then the third graders left, leaving the fourth graders to play a few more advanced songs, culminating with Amazing Grace.
I watched the music teacher’s face as she conducted. She was so patient, and so proud of them for having come so far. She explained that it was a little more difficult than she had thought they could achieve, but she had decided to try it anyway.
If you didn’t have a child there and just heard a recording of this concert, you might have covered your ears. But there is a beauty to be found in such an event that cannot quite be explained.
My son got to bring his recorder home after the concert. I found that he really did know how to read – and play - the music. It suddenly made sense to me why he had caught up so quickly to my older daughter in their piano lessons. I have the foresight and forbearance of one music teacher to thank.
"Strike up the instruments, a song to my God with timbrels, chant to the Lord with cymbals; Sing to him a new song, exalt and acclaim his name.”