Wednesday, July 09, 2008

my odd affection for dots, lines, and squiggles

A couple of weeks ago I played at my second-ever piano recital. I almost didn't do it. The piece of music I was preparing was much harder than anything I'd done before and it wasn't coming together well.

But, my kind yet persistent piano teacher :) convinced me to keep working on the piece and "we'll just see where you're at by the end of the week".

I was nervous on the day of the recital, and still not convinced that I wanted to play. But play I did. I took my seat in front of the vast expanse of black and white keys and plucked out a halting rendition of Bach's Prelude No.1 in C+. It was far from flawless, but I played it none-the-less.

When the final note (and the smattering of applause) had faded and I took my seat among the other students, I didn't feel the relief I expected. Instead, I felt a little sad; like I was saying good-bye to someone I was just getting to know well enough to know we really liked each other. I know... kinda funny, isn't it. What's funnier is that my melancholy mood lasted most of the day.

Enough time has passed since I last played music that I'd forgotten how much it can get inside you. Maybe one of the (many) blessings of being created in God's image is that, just as He breaths life into us, we can breathe life into otherwise inanimate things. What is music really but a collection of dots, lines and squiggles. Yet, in the hands of even the least skilled players (like myself) it can become a living, breathing... something. And it, in turn, can give life to those who hear it.

Maybe, on some level, that's what music is... a conduit for the breath of God, the breath of life. From God to player to music to hearer. I could be stretching my theory a bit too far. Even so... "to him who has ears, let him hear."


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