Music-So Much More Than Notes
If you’ve ever found yourself beating on the steering wheel with the volume blaring so loud that your vehicle vibrates or if you’ve ever sang in the shower some song that ‘s determined to stay stuck in your head then you’ve been influenced by music. Music is everywhere; it surrounds us. It is the unyielding spirit that is present in the rockin’ rhythm from the big brass bands of the 1950’s all the way to the flavor of the musicians on the street corners of New Orleans. Music has a wide variety of approaches that aspire to suit any crowd. The listener could be driving in their car, helping a dance studio class choreograph a dance, attending an opera, or even watching a movie. The possibilities are endless, but what remains is this: music is a live, flowing stream that ties us all together.
What would make me say something like that? Well, last year my high school band chose the piece, “Music for Prague”, as one of the major works for our spring concert. Throughout the year, as we were working on the piece, our band director taught us about the deep significance of the activities that were going on at the time that the piece was written. Prague is a country in Europe that was under the control of Russia and the citizens of Prague wanted to be free and independent. Freedom was their ultimate goal, but was a goal that would not be fulfilled for many years. When Karel Husa wrote “Music for Prague”, the country was not free, but depicted the horrible treatment of the citizens and their final attempt to get a stand for justice. In the end, one brave soul has the courage to stand and say, “No, I will not give in.” The piece is very emotional, and when joined with the history of the times, every note is weighted with a hundred times more brutality, sorrow, and triumph; the ultimate paradox that makes up Prague.
On the night of our spring concert, I will never forget how our band director conducted this piece that night. The look on his face, every furrow of concentration, every bead of sweat, even down to the look of fierce, burning intensity in his brown eyes emitted complete passion. As we held out the last note, he knew he had the focused attention of every one of us. He nodded for more; the volume increased. His left hand shook from holding the baton steady; his right hand rose and shook, intensifying and completing the crescendo. An eternity passed through the harmony of every note in the chord and with a final wave of his right hand, the silent echo of freedom rang out through the energized air.
This memory of mine is one of many I have that deal with making music. Whenever I hear concert pieces from previous years, my heart leaps ecstatically and my mind opens the floodgates to the memories filled with that year’s seniors and special band moments from that year. Music is truly a form of poetry that can have any type of style, but yet always represent so much more. From national anthems of countries to fight songs of schools all the way to your own wedding song, the meaning you put into any melody is what makes it special to you.
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