Musical Triumph

Some people are obviously passionate. I think an obviously passionate person dances in public, or shouts their ardor from rooftops. Then I am not obviously passionate. That is not to say that I am not passionate; in fact, I would claim to be significantly more passionate than average, but it may not be so obvious.

Later in my life I found music. I believe that, for better or worse, music may be the medium which I am able to express myself most accurately and perhaps in some sense empathize with the world. In learning about the artists and composers--how their lives influence their music--I think everyone can find something of themselves there.

In any case, I also believe there is a stark difference between the perception of music as a listener, and as one who plays music. When you begin playing, it feels no different than listening to some extent. But when you finally attain the proficiency to just play without thought or strain, the connection to the writer becomes almost tangible, and so to does your connection to music in general.

If you can believe it, I wrote this completely sober.

I share now, my favorite excerpt from Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin, a piece about a black algebra teacher in 1960's Harlem and his reactions to his brother's drug addiction and recovery.

All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it. And even then, on the rare occasions when something opens within, and the music enters, what we mainly hear, or hear corroborated, are personal, private, vanishing evocations. But the man who creates the music is hearing something else, is dealing with the roar rising from the void and imposing order on it as it hits the air. What is evoked in him, then, is of another order, more terrible because it has no words, and triumphant, too, for that same reason. And his triumph, when he triumphs, is ours.
- James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues

-Peter V.