The Symphony

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“You may begin”
With a rustle of paper, sounding like wind blowing through a forest, the test begins. The sound of scratching graphite and clicking calculators fills the air beginning the symphony. All around me minds slowly gain momentum as if testing the waters of the music. After a few pencils are sharpened like an instrument being tuned, the music gains certainty and purpose.

Quickly the remaining students, the musicians, are launched into the stream of music, the music of knowledge. With the test guiding the way like sheet music, the teacher conducts with the occasional glances at the score. Using their brains like a musician uses his instrument. This is the test of knowledge. Those who have practiced their instruments will become clear. The students always striving to get the right note, the right answer, cause the music to gain motion and speed, the beat of the music becoming increasingly fast and loud, like a heart beat.

I sit at my desk listening to the music. Here I am an island of quiet, disharmony in the noise of test taking. My instrument sits in the resting position, my mind not working. The sound lulls me into a daydream, but I know that I must complete the test; I must play my part in the music. Looking down I throw myself into the music of conics, parabolas, and circles. Alongside the other musicians, I labor to keep up, my hands blurring as they work. I struggle to get the right rhythm the right train of thought to get the answer. I work in solitude, but as a part of the whole. I work hearing the other people, but unable to decipher any one person’s melody.
As the song begins to come to a close; the music gains tension. The rustling, clinking, and scratching becomes more frantic, more rushed, and the musicians less sure of themselves. The effort causes notes of sweat to drip down, the faces of the musicians. The period comes to an end with a defining crash of the bell. The kids relieved, put their instruments away. The silence that follows is sweetened by the musicians’ gratitude that the test is finally over.
Now a new part of the song, a more relaxed part, begins. Slowly and lazily the musicians add their melody one by one to the song once more, their break short lived. Their worry, relief, and happiness show through as the rustle of bags, whispering kids, and scraping chairs take the melody. The teacher walks around to collect the papers, the new song gaining strength. As the students walk out the door their melody is taken to the hall and corridor where a new symphony is just beginning.





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thepreechyteenager said...
Sept. 8, 2010 at 6:18 pm

Great, great GREAT metaphor.  I never would have thought to compare music to a test.  To me, before reading this, it would be like comparing beauty.. I can;t even think of something bad enough.  But this was really eye-opening, they actually have a lot in common.

I did have a couple questions about this though.  You said in your second paragraph, "Quickly the remaining students..." what happened to the original students?  Did some of them leave?  I didn't ... (more »)

 
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