Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Listening from the Inside Out

My improvisation sessions with very young children are an intense undertaking.  They convince me that the essence of listening is stillness itself.

It is nothing short of astonishing to hear the delicacy with which a young child introduces tone into an environment in which tone is not assumed, but rather the medium of most intimate communication.  Surrounded by bells, drums, triangles and cymbals, the child nevertheless invariably begins with a musical gesture as intimate as the strange dog sniffing your hand.

Joining the child within that intensity releases a level of pleasure and play that is so deep within the definition of music that it can't be identified except, perhaps, with a child's squeal of delight.

One of my favorite students was a six-year-old boy who walked on the ceiling and made noise constantly.  His piano playing was too quiet, too intense, for the music school director.  I knew my students (and I) had no future in that place or in any other like-minded place.....another long story.

He is now a musician and a music teacher.