The courage to share

Part 3 of a 4-part series beginning here.

Courage isn’t needed merely to do things like turn up to a concert, go to a rehearsal, or pick up an instrument and learn your craft; it’s also necessary for actually sharing those things with others as well. There are three reasons why courage is necessary for sharing, the first being that our experiences are unique. Nobody else has the same experiences that we do. We might also need courage to share because we’re afraid of ridicule, or because what we are experiencing is just so new.

It takes courage to share. Often we're told to without knowing why.

Our experiences are unique

Everyone has a different experience when participating in live music. For example, if you’re a listener and you’re creating a story in your head about the music, your story may be completely different than the story in my head, which may also be completely different to the story the composer wrote the music about. Music is a fascinating thing, because the story just helps us deal with emotions. And when you leave that musical environment, whether it be the concert hall where you heard the performance or the rehearsal in which you played it, to just then quash that experience is terrible. It is such a waste. So having the courage to share that you experienced with somebody else, and let them listen and enjoy it as well, does help you grow as a person. In the live music environment, sharing what’s going on enhances all of our experiences because they’re truly unique. Trying to persuade someone else to have the same experience as you is silly as well.

Frightened of ridicule

Putting yourself out there is also where courage comes from, because we as humans are frightened of ridicule. We’re frightened of people saying, “oh, that was silly.” We’re frightened of being dismissed. And it’s real. It genuinely happens all the time. Sharing what we feel puts us in a place of vulnerability where we may get ridiculed, and we’d all usually rather not do that. So I say, step up and get the courage to share!

Everything was once new

Everything that you’ve experienced in life, at one point was brand new. The music had never been heard before. What we now consider either familiar or mainstream music, even classical music, was once brand new and may not have been liked at the time of its premiere. Think of Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’; this is a very famous story. It’s now a fabulous piece of repertoire that most orchestras around the world play. It might be perceived as a little weird for people with extremely conservative musical tastes, but it’s still fun and exciting. There’s a lot people can experience with this piece, and I do recommend you try and experience it when you can. However, in 1913, when that piece premiered in Paris, there was literally a riot in the opera house. Although the piece is mostly played by orchestras now, it was being
presented as a ballet on stage in Paris, and the audience members were actually throwing chairs at each other because they hated it so much! Now it’s part of the standard repertoire, although it was new at that time.

The courage to share our unique experiences with other people does put us out there and make us vulnerable. That’s the truth; and we are frightened of being made fun of, but ridicule and remarks only demonstrate ignorance and lack of compassion. So have the courage to share your unique experiences with other people, because if it is or once was new for you, it may be new for them, too. Then again, it may not be new for them, but you won’t know unless you open up and share.

Next week is last part of this series: “The courage to grow”

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The courage to “do”

Follows last week’s article here

The first way we can display and spread confidence around us in the musical realm is by having the courage to actually take a step forward. This could mean to play an instrument, perform, go to a concert and listen to music, volunteer at a local community music organization… but the idea is to actually do something. 

Fears are basically excuses. When you use your fears as an excuse not to do something, there's no courage involved. And we need the courage to do things in order for confidence to spread and our world to become a better place to live.
Fears are basically excuses. When you use your fears as an excuse not to do something, there’s no courage involved. And we need the courage to do things in order for confidence to spread and our world to become a better place to live.

And when we’re talking about having courage, don’t forget that we’re talking about doing something in spite of your fear, despite you not wanting to. The definition of courage is deciding to take some action regardless of any natural fears that you may have. 

Performers learn a craft

What performers do is actually learn a craft. They learn how to do something specific, for example, how to play a musical instrument of their choosing, and that’s what they’re going to share with the rest of the world. That’s how they’re going to make your life better; by using their craft to help them communicate whatever emotions they’re trying to communicate through the music. 

This is a lot deeper than many musicians ever dive. And I think one of the main reasons why music has become sheer entertainment over the years is that musicians have forgotten the language that they’re speaking. They just turn up, play the notes on the page and perform the technique, and then they’re done. But as musicians, we’re actually communicating something. As we’ve explored before, there’s a two-way conversation between the performer and the audience. 

Audiences learn to experience

So performers learn a craft to communicate, while audience members, for their part, learn to give in to the experience. They learn to receive what the performers are giving them and use their imagination to hear and listen to it. If as an audience member you focus on actually listening to the music that’s being shared with you, and you feel that physical energy, the sound waves are hitting you from all directions, then you learn and get to experience something. You also learn a sense of occasion and behavior, which you can then take elsewhere, outside the concert hall or other performance environment. But overall, you get to learn how to have an experience and share it back in the moment. 

You can also learn to discuss that with others who aren’t present by telling them all about the encounter, and that will improve your life. So audiences learn to have an experience. What I will say is that it does take courage to actually turn up to a concert, especially if it’s a piece of repertoire that you’ve never heard of before or a style you’ve not experienced before, or you think you don’t like. It takes courage to turn up and experience it anyway. This also applies to performance, doing the piece of music that you don’t like, or that you haven’t explored before, or picking up an instrument that you haven’t tried to play before. The courage to step up and do something is truly awesome, and it’s a way that confidence spreads. 

We as a human race happen to need a lot of confidence right now. There’s so much skepticism and cynicism in the world. Beyond the idea of “thinking positively”, which might sound too cliched and New-Age, we can actually build confidence in this thing called music, which is so much deeper and far more important than almost anything else when it comes to our emotional and mental well-being.  

Your fears are excuses 

So, why do we not just step out and do things? It’s because of our fears, right? Courage is basically saying that regardless of the fear and trepidation we may have, we’re going to go ahead and do the thing anyway. So why do we not do it? Why do we have these fears? 

There are three basic fears in life;  first, fears for our safety, which may be drawn from negative past experiences. Then there are fears surrounding our home, and finally our future;  we worry about the future. Those are the three primary things. 

Our fears can be genuine. Please don’t get me wrong on this. Fears are real, and I get it. I’m not talking about dismissing or diminishing any fears from our past, concerns for our safety and worries about the future. What I’m saying is that those fears prevent us from having the courage to go and do things. So fears are basically excuses. When you use your fears as an excuse not to do something, there’s no courage involved. And we need the courage to do things in order for confidence to spread and our world to become a better place to live.

Have you heard any of my recent podcast interviews? Here are some to start with:

Life starts when the game is over

Here’s a topic that a lot of people in music struggle with: confidence. It sounds weird for performers to struggle with confidence, right? But I think there are lots of reasons behind this.

Life starts when the game is over

One of them is the fact that we have spent so many years learning how to play our instruments, but as students of our craft, we have also always been in critical environments. There are plenty of people who are just there to critique us and to pick apart what we do. Our teachers, adjudicators, audition panels, our peers, yes, even our competition! All of these people are there to pick apart every aspect of what we do. Because of this, we often end up focusing on the three notes that we didn’t play perfectly, and we forget about the other 3,000 notes that we did play perfectly well. For some peculiar reason, because of this weird chase for perfection in our lives as musicians, we focus on the negative and we forget about everything else that we actually did right.

The ultimate goal?

When you’re in an environment where that happens time and time again, and that’s all you hear, that can be a big knock to your confidence. Of course you’re going to question everything and forget to celebrate your wins. In these environments we forget to say “good job”, “well done.” So a lot of musicians, professional and amateur, are very nervous about performing. They get themselves worked up. They don’t think they’re good enough. They don’t think their performance is as good as it should be. Therefore, musicians in general seek to build their own confidence through both other performers and their audiences. I want to explore what that means and what that looks like, because we tend to think of the performance of the concert itself as the ultimate goal.

The concert is the ultimate dream. There is nothing else beyond the performance. You rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse (and hopefully you practice as well before you get into rehearsals with the group!). Then you do your performance and think it’s all over. Well, I would actually go so far as to suggest that the performance is just the beginning. Once you actually have a performance, you’re communicating something. We’ve explored this in the past, the idea that music is the language of emotions, or as some call it, the language of the soul. So when musicians are performing and audiences are receiving and listening, and then they give their feedback, and you have two-way communication, there’s a lot more going on there than meets the eye. And in fact, that’s the beginning of something deeper, you might even say spiritual. There is something going on around us that doesn’t need to stop just because the performance is finished.

When you come off the stage

A performance is the sharing of specific pieces of music with the communication of specific emotions. But can you imagine having a deep conversation with somebody and never again revisiting that topic? Even if you don’t say the same things or explore the same story, it’s not like you’re never going to talk again. So I like what Terry Crews said about this. In one of his interviews, former professional football player Terry Crews said that “your life starts when the game is over.” He suggests that the game itself is not the ultimate goal, but that life begins to happen when you come off the field. I recommend that we approach concerts in the same way, too; when you walk off the stage, that’s when life begins. You can do this every week, every month, every year, however many times you perform or go to a concert and listen. Once you leave the concert hall, life is now different. Hopefully it’s changed in some way for you.

I learned a lesson about how confidence spreads as a very young performer. I was playing percussion in the back of an orchestra and we were in a very tight space; we literally couldn’t fit anyone else in this space. Our rehearsal was dragging on and we were getting bored. I used to follow the scores when I wasn’t playing, but most of the percussion section usually read a book or a newspaper. So I put my score down, and my friend and I looked at each other, as if to whisper, “let’s try an experiment.”
And we just lifted ourselves. We made a choice. We made a decision to put all of our energy and effort into playing the next passage that we had to play. And we did. It was fascinating, because as we stood up straight and decided to pay attention, we noticed that the horn players who were sitting right in front of the percussion section started sitting up as well.

A wave of energy

It was very interesting. It wasn’t that we were playing louder, we were just playing with more intention and confidence ourselves. We really wanted to play well in that rehearsal, so the horn players picked that up and started doing the same thing. And then, you know what happened? The woodwinds did the same. And in fact, you could see this demeanor reach even to the second violins. They were sitting up too, no longer slumping down. The postures improved and backs were straight. The same thing happened with the trumpets and trombones over on the left side of the stage. And then it moved over to the violas, and finally into the first violins. Throughout the orchestra as a whole, you could literally see a wave of energy over the space of seven to ten minutes, just increasing and moving forward from back to front. And by the end of the rehearsal, everyone had had a great time. We thought it was one of the best rehearsals that we’d ever had because of the contagious confidence that we decided to put forward.

So, how can we actually display and spread confidence ourselves? There are three things I’d like to explore over the next few weeks, if you’ll join me…

Somebody somewhere is paying for something

Finally, the last thing we’re going to discuss in this little series “Creating Opportunities to Participate in Live Music” which may be a little controversial to some (and it doesn’t matter where you are in the world or what kind of music it is), is that somebody somewhere pays for something. 

Music costs money. 

Somebody somewhere has to pay for something. Always.

Nothing is costless

That’s the bottom line: nothing is costless. Everything has a cost to it. And I’m not just talking about money. I’m talking about a cost of time and expertise as well. Even for audience members,  it’s costing them to attend an event. Obviously if you buy a ticket or donate, there’s an easy way to measure the monetary value of that, but it’s also costing you your time, energy and effort, the decision to actually put it in your calendar, to make sure you’ve invited people to come with you (hint!) and to actually attend. 

In addition, with the parking, the meals out before or after meeting the performers, or whatever it is that you do after the concert, it’s costing you something to be involved there, too. We’ve gotten to a point in society where we’re expecting other people to pick up the tab, and sometimes they might… it does happen. Right now through the Dunedin Music Society’s COVID Catch-up Challenge, we are specifically looking for people who can support our organization so that other people, a broader base of people can actually get involved in and experience the emotional well-being that music provides for them. The problem arises when we start to expect it. Remember, nothing is costless. One of the big dangers over the last 40 to 50 years is that folks have been looking for these kinds of “free” environments, particularly in the arts. 

I don’t understand why, but it seems to affect mostly the musical and performing arts. Maybe it’s because so many people try to do it themselves; why would you pay a hundred dollars to have a professional musician come in and perform for you, when Person B, although they may not do a comparable job in terms of quality, will do it for free because they love doing it? That second person may pay their bills some other way, so they can do music for free because it’s a hobby. So of course, a lot of people will go for that because they don’t have to pay. We’ve all heard the old adage: out of the ability to have things fast, cheap, or of good quality, you can have two of the three, but never all three…right? And these days, most of Western society goes for fast and cheap every single time. That’s created an environment where we expect music performances to be available for free. 

The venue, the performers, the instruments, the equipment, all of that is lumped together. I ask my career coaching students all the time whether they attended college on a scholarship. When they answer yes, they didn’t pay a penny, I remind them that maybe they didn’t pay themselves, but somebody invested in them to help them learn to become an expert in what they do. Somebody somewhere always pays. 

Star Trek’s Utopia has no money 

In the famous series Star Trek, the Utopia they were striving for had no money. In one of the movies, William Shatner explained to somebody how each person just works for the good of everyone else. But the thing is that they had no actual currency. It didn’t exist in their society. In our society, it does exist as a medium of exchange, and there are no indications to suggest that it’s going away anytime soon. You simply can’t live in a society where everything is free. 

While money exists, money is not evil. Everyone gets that quote from the Bible wrong. It’s not the money itself, but the love of money that can stir evil. And as long as this system of exchange exists, somebody somewhere has to pay for things. The Utopian environment portrayed in Star Trek doesn’t exist. So we’re not living in that environment. Maybe we’ll get to that point in our lifetime, and it will be ideal, I don’t know for sure. But right now, the opportunity that we have to enjoy and participate in live music is going to cost money. 

Pooling resources

What I recommend is this:  I recommend we pool our resources. Let’s work together. As we said before, “It’s up to us, Hamish!” to actually bring music to our local communities, but we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We don’t have to duplicate what everyone else is doing, which is a waste of time, energy and human effort.

We live together in this community, and whether we know each other well or not, we are neighbors. We are the community. So it’s up to us to work with the people around us. In conclusion, those are the three things I think are important to remember when we are actually looking for opportunities to create and participate in live music;  it is up to us. It works both ways. And somebody somewhere always has to pay.

If you missed any part of this series, here are all four articles:

  1. Creating opportunities for live music
  2. Who is responsible for creating opportunities to participate in live music?
  3. It works both ways
  4. Somebody somewhere is paying for something (this article)

Have you heard the recent interviews over on Classic Jabber? Worth a listen, coz I’m sure you’ll laugh, learn and want to share, too 🙂

It works both ways…

It works both ways - there is give and take between performers and audiences (and venues!)

Audiences in an actual live environment can give their feedback through applause. If you’ve ever been to a jazz or rock concert, and in the middle of a song a performer does something a little bit special, the people applaud. The same thing happens at the opera or at a ballet. Have you been in those environments, where you’ve actually heard applause in the middle of a piece of music? Of course you have. It’s normal. Only in the 1930s with Toscanini did we start silencing people during live music concerts. And there’s a wonderful story about that. Toscanini’s radio shows were running over time, and they couldn’t figure out why, since the delay wasn’t written in the music itself.  It was the fact that the audience was applauding between movements of a symphony, and it made the radio show run late, so they cut it out. Toscanini (being the dictator that he was) loved it and brought the silence between movements back into the concert hall. And less than a hundred years ago, that’s when people stopped applauding between movements of symphonies by Beethoven, Mahler, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Brahms…all the composers. Those composers didn’t expect their audiences to stay silent.  If you’ve actually heard Tchaikovsky’s sixth symphony, how on earth can anyone sit on their hands at the end of the first movement? When you’re at a classical concert, if an oboe has a really beautiful melody and the soloist plays it well, they expect the audience to applaud. 

Give and take 

The live music experience is an exchange, a give and take. Without feedback from the audience, performers don’t know if they’ve done a good job. 

And I love this: if you cheer them on, whistle, applaud, jump up on your feet, and make as much noise as you can, you just let us know that we’re doing a good job somehow. And if you’re one of those people who tells anyone else to shush!, you’re missing the point. You’re missing the reason for being there. If you want to study and listen to the music intensely and purposefully without distraction, that’s why we have recordings. That’s why we have CDs and MP3s and other technology. But the live environment is a conversation, a give and take between performers and audience members, back and forth. The interesting thing about the fact that music works both ways is that music itself is bigger than just that performance.

Performers and audiences 

A good performance is going to affect you. Whether you’re a performer, an audience member, a volunteer or a staff member, a performance is going to affect you long after the show is over. And I’m going to tell you right now that lives actually change. When you support live music-making, you can change your life.  It happened to me when I was seven years old; I was a very quiet kid,  just absolutely silent. For two years, I didn’t say a single word (my wife wishes that was still the case!). But when I was a kid, my parents were rightfully concerned. “Does he even have a voice? We haven’t heard anything.” Eventually, obviously, I did talk. But when I was seven, they took me to see my local community orchestra. We had seats in the front row of the balcony, and apparently I sat leaning on the balcony with my chin on the railing for the entire concert, except the intermission. On the way home, again I didn’t say a word. They were worried. Did they waste their money?  And then, just as we reached our village, about a 40 minute drive later, Mum said, “did you like that? Was there anything that you enjoyed?” And apparently I turned around and said, “I want to do what that guy in the front was doing.” That’s the story my mother tells me, and I can believe it. My entire life changed by attending that performance. 

It’s bigger than a performance 

Twice in my life I’ve tried to give up pursuing music as a career and do something else, but it didn’t happen, and I always came back to music.  It completely changes lives. Even if it’s not that extreme of an example, you could be experiencing sorrow or sadness or any other number of emotions. You may not even know what emotions you’re experiencing at the moment, but if you attend a good, live in-person concert, it will help you cope with those feelings. It will help you deal with those emotions. It’ll help make sense of them. Sometimes music will take you through anger and annoyance and it will help you express them. While you’re sitting in your seat, you can still express anger through the music. That’s the give and take part. And then when it’s done, you can then process it a lot easier. Maybe it’s even changed. Maybe you’ve even gotten rid of that emotion. Maybe you’ve replaced it with joy or something else. There are so many benefits to live, in-person music making, but it’s bigger than just the performance. So many lives are impacted. It’s bigger than the performers, bigger than the audiences, bigger than the venue. It’s even bigger than the music itself.

So it works two ways when creating opportunities to participate in live music, and brace yourself, because lives are going to change.

If you would like to explore building your own profitable performing career as a classical musician, let’s see if my experience of 30+ years can help. Schedule a free Breakthrough Session now.

Who is responsible for creating opportunities to participate in live music?

If you are familiar with the movie Braveheart… “It’s up to us, Hamish!”

I can’t believe I went there, but you know what? It’s true. It’s up to us. No one else is going to create opportunities for you; it’s up to individuals. If you leave it to anyone else, especially if you think there are professionals out there who can do this (and there are, and they’d be really good at it), by just relying on that you’re assigning ownership to other people to give you the musical fuel that you need. It’s not going to happen; you’re not going to be satisfied. You’re not going to be able to enjoy as much as you could if you did it yourself. Simply put, it’s up to us. It’s up to the individual person to create an opportunity where he/she can participate in music. 

That might mean that you buy a ticket and attend a concert, if you don’t necessarily want to get involved in the music-making yourself. Maybe you can host a concert in an appropriate environment. If you go to church regularly, you might be able to borrow the church sanctuary or fellowship hall for a bit. Finally, you could even host a front lawn mini-concert. Have you heard of those? It’s a service that the Dunedin Music Society offers in which you actually create an opportunity to participate in live music-making on your property, where you and your neighbors, and maybe a select group of friends, come and sit socially-distanced and can enjoy live music together. So there’s another opportunity, but still, it’s up to you. 

Here are three ways that you can physically implement creating your own opportunities:

Join a conversation

When I say “it’s up to us,” the first important thing is to join a conversation. When you talk to people, or join in a conversation with somebody, you can mention music in almost any context whatsoever. By dropping a musical reference in conversation, you bring music back into the forefront, and you can now participate in the idea of what music is, and where it’s going to happen. “You know what? We should get together. We should attend a concert. We should put on a concert. We should host a concert. We should perform together.”  Whenever you find yourself in company, join a conversation, and get people talking about live music.

Get more input

The second thing is to try to get more input from people as well; you might consider asking them, “what do you enjoy doing? And by the way, have you tried something different? Do you know the benefits music actually has for you? Do you know why music is so important for our emotional well-being?” Having these conversations creates opportunities where people are now interested and want to get involved with something musical. As the language of emotions, music is so vital in these and any difficult times, in times of sadness and sorrow, as well as in times of joy.  Think about this: when did we need music most over the last several decades? September 12, 2001 (yes, the day after…) comes to mind as one of the most important days when people probably turned to music. 

Right now in this time of isolation, we need that emotional well-being. We need music in our lives; live, in-person music. Recently on social media I shared a double picture collage where the top picture was an airplane full of people with masks on, and everyone looked absolutely miserable. Directly below that was a completely empty concert hall of a thousand seats.  And I sometimes wonder if we’ve got our priorities a little bit mixed up. We’re stuffing ourselves together into a big tube with masks on, but in a larger environment, where you can actually pull fresh air in and get that emotional healing that we crave through live music, that isn’t happening. Now, there are a couple of states in the US that are opening up to these possibilities faster than others. 

It's up to us.

But in some countries around the world, people are actually beginning to perform again, which is awesome. Venues are not crowded, they’re keeping social distance. It’s possible… people are doing it. So get more input from people, invite people to comment, to respond, to give feedback and see what they think, but it’s up to us. Also be very wary when looking for opportunities to participate. 

Be careful about entitlement

The third and final point is to be careful about entitlement; being entitled to having opportunities given and presented to you. It’s a very dangerous thing when, even if you’ve been playing for most of your life and just moved to a new area, you actually believe you are the best thing since sliced bread and you deserve to have all the opportunities to perform. That’s not “community”. That is not what music making is. That’s pure ego and showing off, and you know what? It doesn’t create a very nice environment for anyone. Ultimately (and I’ve experienced this), you don’t get satisfied anyway; it doesn’t help you. You’re never satisfied. So just keep a check on entitlement expectations, thinking that because of who you are or what you do, you deserve to have this opportunity to participate in music. Remember that it’s up to us to create those opportunities. And as I said before, it can be really, really simple. It can be as simple as looking for something that’s going on locally and attending. That in its own right, is creating an opportunity in your life to participate in live music-making. If you are a performer and you want to perform, and you want to share more of your music, then create the opportunity… host it at your own front door.

There are ways to find somebody else to communicate with, to actually perform with, while maintaining social distance. But it’s up to you. There are organizations I’m going to explore in just a moment where we can make this easier for you. That’s what the Dunedin Music Society was set up for:  to make those opportunities much easier to connect you and your community with live music. So many people think they need to reinvent the wheel in this industry. It’s unbelievable. Scary. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to discover, for the first time ever, this wonderful new thing. There are people out there who do this for a living and are actually happy to help you do it! 

For example, if you want to host a front lawn mini concert, go to It’s a service that we offer, and the first item under the “Shop” tab. Have a look there, and we’ll bring live music to your front lawn, where you and your neighbors can sit at the end of the driveway and enjoy the music. You can invite a couple of friends to sit on your front lawn. Maybe you want a small band or a small chamber group. You can position them on the driveway so they don’t mess up your grass; we can work with that! So have a look at those options and see what we offer. 

A two-way conversation

Remember that music is not a one-way street, performer vs. audience, presenter vs. recipient. It’s always a two-way conversation. Throughout the number of performances that I’ve conducted, the groups have played incredibly well. Seriously, we enjoy it. They make music with fun, with excitement, but at times it still falls absolutely flat. Do you know why? Because the audience isn’t giving back, we’re not getting the energy or the focus from them. And we feed off of that. If you are an audience member, and even if you’re a performer and you attend a concert, if you sit there criticizing everything and listening for all the mistakes, we pick that up and it affects what we’re going to deliver to you. If you’re excited just to be there and to hear the music and to congratulate people who did a decent job, the best that they could, again, we feel that we receive that and it makes us want to deliver more of even better quality. And that just lifts the whole concert experience up. So it is completely a give and take relationship. It’s a two-way conversation every single time music occurs.

Because it’s up to us to create these opportunities, there’s always going to be give and take. There’s also never going to be a time when you can actually expect something for nothing. We’ll be exploring these essential topics in more depth in the next segments.

If you would like to explore building your own profitable performing career as a classical musician, let’s see if my experience of 30+ years can help. Schedule a free Breakthrough Session now.

Creating opportunities for live music

The thing about music in general is that, as we’ve explored many times, it’s the language of emotions. But it’s also conversational, which means you really cannot have music without two people. Yes, music can be created by one person and that one person can enjoy listening to what they’re performing, but that’s not what music is.

There's a key to creating opportunities to participate in live classical music.
There’s a key to creating opportunities to participate in live classical music.

Music is a language. A language is used for conversations. it’s used for communicating with others. So you need a least two people in order for music to actually mean anything. And it’s not always a performer just presenting and somebody else just hearing, it is an actual two way conversation. We’ll explore that in another article coming soon, but the issue is we don’t always have the right opportunities, or the right environment to participate in live music making. 

Let’s hang out on this language of emotions for a moment. I know mathematicians like to think that mathematics is the world’s only universal language. However, there are at least seven known languages on this planet that don’t have numbers. They actually can’t do mathematics because they don’t have numbers in their language. There’s no concept of what a number is. So they won’t be able to communicate with other people through mathematics. 

Yes, there is a ton of correlation between music and mathematics. I recently saw a comment about that on social media. There is a very big correlation. They are very, very closely knit, but not everyone can participate in mathematics if they don’t have numbers in their language. However, everybody can, unless there’s an actual physical problem such as a disconnect among the vocal cords, they can speak. You could even speak with your eyes.

I ask this a lot from most of my performing groups: smile with your eyes. Even if you can’t actually pick up an instrument and play at the same time and smile, you can still smile with your eyes. And you can tap a rhythm. If you have a pulse, you can tap a beat. You can tap a rhythm. That’s participating in music. Everyone can do it. I’ve taught so many people who claim that they’re either tone deaf or they have no coordination. The people who do struggle with coordinating their hands, their feet, their bodies in general, the drum kit is a great way to start. Okay. It’s not the ultimate musical form of expression or physical therapy, and you need to go beyond simply tapping a beat, but it’s a really easy and good way to actually start getting coordinated. 

Everybody has the right and the ability to create and enjoy their music.

Lee Higgins

According to Lee Higgins, “Everybody has the right and the ability to create and enjoy their music.” Now, the important thing, actually, there are lots of important things in that statement, but I think one of the most important things is the enjoyment part. Music is not just entertainment, there is joy involved. And you can only do that with two people where one person shares something, an emotion or a feeling, through music, another person receives that communication, and then they can respond. 

So how do we make that happen? Who makes it happen? How do we get involved in music? There are three things I would like to explore with you over the next few weeks. These three things, I think, summarize the kind of music that we can get involved with and who’s responsible for it. 

But while we wait for next week’s article, would you mind popping over to Creative Loafing each day until the end of August, and voting for your favorite classical musician in Tampa Bay?!