As most of you may know, I’m a musician. In fact, I am better than a musician, I am a cellist. The most righteous of all the strings, the mobile bad ass of the orchestra, the soul to all levels of life in a musical adventure. I was born into music, adopted into the family of strings, and have been playing tunes of some kind since I could walk.
Needless to say, I love it, I feel it, I smell it, and I live to play it.
But that’s not the case for everyone, and to be fair, I get that. I can’t watch sports for long periods of time, or play World of Warcraft…ever, so I know that there are things that some people find lovely and quite easy to do for large portions of their lives. These are not mine.
But what happens when two worlds collide and a musician doesn’t love what they do? Or when a chess player doesn’t ever play the game to win? Could it be possible that a sports fan gets up and leaves 2 minutes before the end of the game? Can we say that all these things would be considered “odd”? I would, and that is why I’m here today, writing about the oddities I see in my everyday life.
I am currently in a chamber group with two other violinists, two sides to the one coin that makeup our trio. On the one hand, we have our first violinist, a young gentlemen who is a freshman in college, super Asian, and a very structured, knowledgeable musician. He knows the birth and death dates of any main composer, can read the Italian script depicting the mood of the piece, and has ingrained into his psyche every tempo for every movement ever made ever.
Actually, he’s very impressive in this capacity.
My other violinist is a old, curmudgeon of a man, who also knows many pieces of music and their composers, has played in many orchestras and chamber groups, and counts well enough that he can direct his players through difficult passages.
However, what I’m finding the MOST frustrating as we are putting together our Boccherini trio is that neither of them know what I mean when I say, “are you feeling the music?”The older man always laughs when I say something about the feeling of the music, whereas the youngin looks at me like I have a third head. FEEL THE MUSIC….what does that even mean???
And right here is what I’m talking about. How can a person who loves and has studied the art of music not know what it is to feel what one is playing? I don’t do anything well when it comes to the study of music. I don’t know my scales by heart, only by ear, I don’t even know the names of the notes (I’m like the kid who has to do all math via their fingers…I start on an open string and count up to the note I’m trying to name), and god forbid I sight read right out of the gate- I’m AWFUL at tempo.
But I absolutely, one hundred and twenty two thousand percent, FEEL THE MUSIC. I can literally feel the sway of my body as a piece goes from crazy and erratic, to sweet and soothing. I describe the way I’m feeling with images such as, “Think of this section like a drunk pirate! Imagine heavy and a little bit messy” (I actually used that one last night) or “this section is like a forest fairy, light and playful”. I see the music like a movie, and I’m constantly surprised when others cannot.
Last night was just another moment in my life when I sat quietly and thought, “this, my friend, is a losing battle”. I can’t force these two guys to see what I see or understand what I’m saying when I ask if they make the piece rounder and more full. You either “get it” or you don’t.
And what a snob I would be to even notice this…wait….