Yesterday I went to Lincoln Center to hear the NY Philharmonic. I love this activity. I’m hooked. My formula is usually:
Cheaper Seats x More Concerts = JOY
(Although, yesterday’s seats were a little too crummy, even for me. It is good to discover your limits.)
In a time when any piece of music can be heard by commanding Siri, people underestimate the value of the live performance. And, by the way, although I love to hear that my students have been to a classical performance, I am referring to any type of live performance.
So here are some reasons to jump in with both feet and experience live music.
In no particular order:
No “devices” allowed.
Dress up clothes are encouraged.
The event feels special.
Musicians have skills worth seeing. They act as a team. There is a quarterback, special teams, kickers. They must play with precision, moving and breathing together.
Watching an instrument being played is amazing.
Hearing music you never heard before is educational.
Live music sounds and “feels” different than a recording.
Depending on the venue, certain behavior and ritual is expected. This is all part of the discipline of music.
Here are a few suggestions.
Before you go, listen to the pieces you will hear. You don’t have to study them, just play them in the background so they are familiar.
Bring a little pair of binoculars. Even from the cheap seats you can see the instruments close up.
When you sit in the theatre, check out the program. There are often notes that guide you to listen for certain elements. That makes it more fun. Some of the pieces tell a story.
I highly encourage you to give your family the gift of this experience. It does not have to cost a lot. For a little more than the price of a movie ticket, you can share this experience. You will be making a life-long memory.
Fitting music lessons into your child’s schedule can be a challenge. It takes a long time to make noticeable progress, but the experience can be very worthwhile. There are many scientific studies that measure brain activity while listening to music etc., but that is not what I am talking about. Learning how to play an instrument or participating in a vocal group requires many other skills. Here are some examples.
Concentration. Did you ever have the experience where you read a page and realize that the entire time you were thinking about what you were going to have for dinner that night? Well that happens when you are playing an instrument. Your mind can wander and you have to keep your head in the game the entire time – active concentration. This is a great skill to have.
Emotional Control. Playing an instrument can be extremely frustrating. Sometimes your ears and eyes know what to play, but your fingers keep making the mistake. You have to take a breath and keep practicing. There are times when singing with a chorus can be very emotional. It would be easy to break out sobbing which would ruin the moment for the audience. You have to keep your emotions intact. The singer has to feel that surge of emotion but maintain control. This is a pretty good skill to develop.
Of course there is the chance that you might actually develop the life skill of playing or singing which you will be able to do for a very long time. You create connections with “music friends” and become part of a community. I belong to Wilton Singers, a local community choral group. These people have become some of my very best friends. Age, marital status, political stance, and religious views are inconsequential. Our bond is first about the music. That is how we connect.
Even if your piano lessons didn’t put you on the stage at Carnegie hall, your efforts were not in vain. You can still make music a part of your life. The skills that you learned are both directly and indirectly transferrable… and lots of fun.
Check out the articles below when you have a chance. And in the meantime remember…