Music Flows Through Us

November 8, 2011
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
“Words,
Flowing into an ocean.
An ocean of vast, white space
There’s no sound in space.
Only your heartbeat.
The one Soundtrack to your life.”


Heartbeats are mesmerizing. Have you ever noticed, that when you’re surrounded by bass, enveloped by the hit of the beat, your heart syncs up with it? The music flows through you. It’s keeping you alive. Like if the music stopped, so would your heart.

When playing music, I sometimes space out. I start thinking of the picture the music is painting. Or my mom, and how beautiful she is. I keep playing. I hit every note perfectly with all the dynamics flowing from my diaphragm, to my tongue, so it can shoot the crisp sound out of my horn for people to listen to. Or ignore. Reality pulls me back then. I realize that I have just spaced out. Meta-cognition, I think it is. Just as it happens when we read books, it happens when we read music. Not only do I read the music, I listen. To everyone. To the piece as a whole.

An entire band, brought together in one sound, yet so diverse in parts. It’s like a family. That’s what we are. A family. Driven by time signatures and the fluid movements of our band directors arms, conducting us through a march or something slower. Something pretty. Something that makes you think about the sounds smushing together. If you listen closely, the saxes, so boastfully, play every note perfect. Trumpets cry out about their family life. Flutes trill happily, but the tone is sad. Clarinets, one by one, take over the lead chorus, playing it back to the first chair. French horns yell into their horns, creating a soothing sound that most wouldn’t associate with pain. They wouldn’t associate it with high-strung, pressured teenagers. The lonely bassoon cries softly. It’s not hurt because no one can hear it over the dozens of other instruments. It doesn’t struggle to be heard. It plays with soul. With every being, that bassoon lets loose everything keeping it back. Listen deeper into the guts of the sound. You can hear the lows bellowing out their pain into the disappearing sound. Once everyone drops out, the bassoon comes back for is chance to shine. It doesn’t just shine, though. It gleams with beauty. It makes the rest of the band listen to it’s unwritten pain. They sit and absorb the double-reeded vibration. The clarinets have counted their final rest, and join the blessed bassoon in the same intonation. The flutes hold a long, sustained note to amplify the sweet melancholy sounds being played. The lows sneak in with mellow tones. They don’t care if no one notices them. They are the heart of the band. The last measure is coming. Every instrument knows it. They all get ready for the final note. Breathe. Release of pain comes. Everyone knows it. Unspoken release. The Director cuts us off. It’s over. No one will admit it, but everyone feels the same.

Even the percussion, usually ignored, have felt the release. While they were bringing sticks down upon the stretched material that is a drum, or bringing mallets across bells to makes notes and cords, the rest of band was listening. Counting, Their hearts beating in unison. Rhythmically to the bass drum. They never tell us what to do. They merely assist us. Every instrument is an asset. Without the saxes, we wouldn’t have that crisp, clear, brass sound. Without the flutes, there would no high driving force to push us to the next phrase. Trumpets take over melodies; Taking them to a different place. The music isn’t on paper anymore. It’s in space. In the air. In our heartbeats. The lows. Oh the lows. Their sound is so big. So bulky. It sounds so in the way sometimes, but it sets the back beat. When everyone is dancing in the painted space, the lows are there with the melancholy beat. They keep everyone on track. The smaller instruments are there too. Adding depth into every sound. Every instrument we need. For without one, we are incomplete. When one is gone, you can feel the music not living up to its full potential. Without one, we are none. Without one, everything feels different. Off. It hurts when a full band is missing it’s heart. When we can’t be the best..

Can you imagine being in an empty theatre? No one else is there, except your family. The only people that truly understand your obsession for practicing, or staying late at school just to hang out in the band room. When no one can feel your sadness, or your longing for escape, music is there to soak up those feelings, then letting them loose in a frenzy of sound and rapid notes.

You see the director raise his arms up to start. You bring your horn to your mouth in preparation to play. His hands come down, and the first note is painted into the air. This is music. Where words can’t explain what you want to let people know, notes and rhythms are there to yell at people. To scream into their faces, “THIS IS WHAT I FEEL! CAN’T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?” Most people don’t listen to the music. They look for their child in the ensemble. They beam with pride when they can hear their spawn play. But they don’t truly listen. The ones that do care the ones that actually care for music. They can see the picture being painted by dozens of small fingers. Dozens of humans that have yet to experience the full range of emotions. These adults that can feel with their ears are the real gifted people. Not someone who can play better than their classmates. One who can truly appreciate music is gifted.

When the music stops, and there are tears on faces of true musicians, you know that you did a good job. You probably missed a whole measure of notes, but you don’t care. You know that once that music has stopped, so have the hearts of your family members for a few seconds while they come back to reality. To where people hate and say mean things.

In a world of music, noting is hateful. Peace is the only language spoken. Children can speak this language even before they can form words. When a baby touches your face and looks deep into your eyes, you see so much wisdom in such a small, new body. Babies can’t hate. They love. Music is the same. Music will never yell at you. Never not care. Music will always be there for you. “When words fail, music speaks.” There is no law when you’re wrapped in notes. When you’re swept away by the notes being drawn with your fingers. The notes that transform your thoughts into syncopation. Your feelings into time, your dreams into phrases. Even when you’re not in the band room, our bodies make music.

Tapping our fingers. Humming, whistling, clapping. Sometimes we even think about playing. We can’t wait to wake up in the morning and get to band class. We hang out there after school. We learn new instruments. Anything we do just to be in the band room. The high ceiling, the sound of a stand when you change it’s angle.

Music is all around us. At night, the insects chirp their own songs. Cars roll by with changes in pitch for each shifting year. People wouldn’t hear it. Most don’t. Others find the beauty in everything. Music is just like talking to your best friend. Or just talking in general. You may not be good at it, but it’s how you express yourself, that people will notice. It’s sad when people don’t accept others musical choice. Music is music. It’s just how one lets it effect them. Music is an international language that so many people speak. If only more people spoke it.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback