Saturday, May 4, 2013

Let's Get Rid of the Music

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting my children's band practice as they rehearsed with a another school's band for an upcoming joint performance. I stood there with my back to the wall and watched the music fill the room. Like people leaving a concert, groups of three and five notes tiptoed forward, and then more, filling, spreading, seeping through every exit until a throng of musical bodies in every color and pattern forced a broad tide into the open and then disbursed, leaving behind a tingle, a touch, that would not dissipate.

Everyone felt it.

I came home and, later, thought a bit about recent goings, conversations with friends, with my children. It's been difficult for the past few weeks, watching some stumbles and some falls, scraping our knees on the parenting pavement. I suppose they're not called growing 'pains' for nothing.

As I reflected I thought about the struggles of my own youth, about wanting power, not knowing how to channel power, feeling power that scared me, finding the immensity of higher power.

There is certainly power in risk. There is thrill and blur in it, heart race and dry throat. But what comes after the moment of risk is the test of its value.

Risk a drink. What do you get in return? Risk a note. What comes? Multiply the risk - what then?

In my life I was fortunate that my risks were met with grace and I was endowed with chance after chance to right myself. Mostly, I think I have. I believe my education saved me more than once when the good Lord decided to let me figure it out on my own.

When people talk about education - especially public education - and they think about ways to cut budgets, many (myself, sadly, included) will suggest that if children must lose out on something, they cannot risk losing out on math or reading. If something must go, let it be art or language. 'Let's get rid of the music,' we might suggest.

Truly, nothing could be more dangerous. In that room the other day, where all those children sat expressing, reflecting, managing the power of music, invaluable lessons were learned about how you can have and use power, about how others can have and use it to, about how cooperation creates something beautiful and transformative. Peace was received and extended in that room.

What more important lessons could we teach?

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