Music isn’t just about learning the notes, memorizing tunes or putting together set lists for performances. It’s about relationships. Relationships between musicians, relationships between the band and the audience or dancers, the relationship between you and your instrument, and the relationships between the notes. I was reminded of this the other day during rehearsal as we were playing one of my favorite tunes.
There are moments when you’re playing and something in the music touches you and everything just seems to click. It’s a feeling that is hard to describe but it feels much like that relaxed state you feel after you get a massage. It’s where everything is right for a brief moment. There is a contentedness that is indescribable. You’re not only playing the music but you’re feeling it and sharing that feeling. It’s powerful. And it’s the reason we practice so much. It’s the reason we play.
On Friday, a few of us will be playing at an An Irish Dinner as a part of the Burlington Irish Heritage Festival (delicious food, dancing and music if you’re interested – buy tickets here). We’ve been practicing for it recently and putting together set lists and arranging the tune-sets.
There was one particular tune that we were arranging. We planned it so that different instruments would come in at different times to give it some dynamics and color.
Though I have played this tune countless times before in many settings, as we were playing this new arrangement it not only sent chills down my spine, it literally brought tears to my eyes. I don’t mean to get all mushy gushy on you but that moment doesn’t come as often as we’d like so when it does you have to take time to relish in it.
Although learning the notes is important for obvious reasons, the real greatness comes when the notes become second nature and what your really sharing, is your relationship to your music.