Sunday, February 26, 2012

What music can teach about the little things in life

We had our Symphony concert today. It was lovely. We played two concertos, with a visiting violinist and cellist playing the solos. They did a fantastic job and the only reason I'm a little sad about it all is because while I was playing, I couldn't hear them much. Oh well.
But it made me think. I saw a Youtube video a while ago (I can't find it now, darn it!) in which a high school orchestra conductor speaks about why grades are inadequate. He has the orchestra play all the notes properly, but with no emotion behind them. That's an A grade, by school standards. Then he has them play at a B grade level, where each of them makes one mistake. It sounds awful, naturally. Then he has them play the music the way music should be played, with the correct notes, the phrasing, the dynamics, and the emotions behind the notes. It's gorgeous. This, he explains, is why grades are so inadequate as a measure of what a child has learned. Further, it's an emphatic and well thought out explanation as to why the arts are important in school, and I couldn't agree more.
But it has ramifications beyond just schools and grades, too. It's a perfect metaphor for the saying that "every little bit counts". The next time someone tells you that personal actions don't count, look them in the eye and say, "How would your favorite band sound if they played and sang just one or two notes wrong in every song? Would they be your favorite band then? My actions matter just as much."
No man is an island. We're all connected, and what you do has an impact on everyone else in the world. And as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Those actions are important, no matter what anyone tries to tell you. I think that saying "personal actions don't matter" is another way for someone to try to say that you don't matter, and that's just not true. You matter. Your actions matter. So hold your head up high and know that holding yourself to a higher standard is never a bad thing.
For this week's total: $72. It would have been far less, but on Friday I had a sudden craving for curried chicken salad. How could I resist? Mmm...curry.

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