Monday, December 31, 2007

Making Music Alone... with Others

One evening during the holidays, while at a family gathering, I ended up talking with two people who, independently, mentioned that have their own private relationship with music. They both play piano, create their own pieces and just love to play--as long as they have total privacy.

We often can think that music is a social art (playing in a large or small group in front of others, for example), but I (and probably most of you reading this) know many people who have their own very satisfying musical life where no other person ever hears them. So, after talking with these people, it reminded me of my own private musical life that I have always had. And I realized you can be a public performer in a group, a world famous soloist, a schooled musician who ends up doing something else for a living, a self-taught musician, someone who whistles while they work or sings in the car or shower, all have their own personal and private musical life despite the apparent outward differences.

The very wonderful and interesting thing to me in this, in a lot of these people like the ones I spoke with at the family party, is there is no need in them to ever play in front of other people, not even family or friends; (I wonder if that even includes pets or other animals. Hmmm...). The supportive acoustic for them is playing alone, perhaps in a place where they feel very safe and comfortable.

For me, when I play alone, I don't feel alone. There is an odd sense of wholeness and togetherness and a feeling that a something else is listening. For all of you private music makers, maybe you feel that too, that something is listening to your music and supports your art. In any case, know that I think it is wonderful and I support your private music making.

Hey, this makes me wonder, maybe we could all play a concert together in the privacy of our own personal environments. We could set a time and everyone could play their special music together, yet in private, knowing others are doing the same at the same time.

Sound interesting?


Donna said...

What a gift -- to be able to play an instrument that gives you joy without the need for approval from anyone. That is something very special.

Lise said...

Hi Norman,
I think it is so great what you are saying. It spurs thoughts and feelings in me about the meaning music can have, even if not played in front of others.

Although at occasions I play music which others hear, some of the best times I have with music is when I sit on my own and play the guitar or the piano and improvise. Sometimes it can feel like I am playing a piece of music for exactly that moment. Other times I'm thinking of a something or of someone who is far away, and sometimes I don't think at all. It gives much meaning and richness to me to do this, and I do recognize that feeling at times, of not being alone.

I love the idea of playing a concert on our own together with others. That could be great!

Best wishes

Bea said...

It is nice to know that others are playing musical instruments in the privacy of their homes for their own pleasure (as I do). Very therapeutic.