and, of course, the poetry of music.
Last night, at the conservatory, we had a delightful evening of poetry, initiated by visiting artist Jorja Fleezanis. It was great fun, and many of us – students and faculty – got up to read or recite.
I have always loved poetry, and have found it to be a fantastic teaching tool. What a great way to approach issues like pacing, timbre, inflection, emphasis, volume… to say nothing of plain old stage presence. All without the concerns and obstacles of the instrument getting in the way.
Of course, the use of these expressive tools is always connected to meaning – or should be. I am constantly stunned by how many students do not analyze what they are playing. Analysis is the handmaiden of interpretation, which in turn revolves, in great part, around meaning.
Without knowing WHAT you are saying you get something like:
Or in trying to emote, you might get something like:
TO be or not TO… be that is THE question whether…. ’tis nobler in the mind TO..
Gibberish either way.
For last night’s participants and whoever else might be reading this, I offer the following from the 13th century Persian poet, Rumi.
BE YOUR NOTE
God picks up the reed-flute world and blows.
Each note is a need coming through one of us,
a passion, a longing-pain.
Remember the lips
Where the wind-breathe originated,
And let your note be clear.
Don’t try to end it.
Be your note.
I’ll show you how it’s enough.
Go up on the roof at night
in this city of the soul.
Let everyone climb on their roofs
And sing their notes!