Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Young Listener Gets Tired

Yesterday I was privileged to have an 8th-grader among the audience for one of my in-house musics.  In anticipation of his coming I thought about what concert-going had been like for me as a young listener.  I recall being confused by the sheer amount of information coming at me: what was I supposed to do with it?  I recall also being bored with any and everything slow: undoubtedly a result of being half a block away from the source of the sound.

As part of my introduction to the event I told him I was preparing to throw millions of vibrations at him, one at a time, in the hope that he would catch them.  I encouraged him to sit in "the teacher's chair," close up, where he could also watch my hands.

I became aware of him paying incredible attention for a time, then getting tired.  Good for him, I thought:  a sign of real activity, not at all of boredom, not at all.

One of the pieces was a suite by W.F. Bach which involved tossing the hands around a lot in the most playful manner--difficult to do, fun to watch, and in total contrast to the movements in which the intense lyricism of single tones was almost unreal--incredible music that I had never heard anyone play or even mention.  Extreme.  Irresistible.  He was roused by that, happy to say.