“If it sounds good, it is good.” —Duke Ellington
“How does it sound?” I often ask at the end of a piece in my classes. If the group says “Good!” I quote the Duke.
And if it is good, it means we feel good. The rhythms and meters and grooves and melodies and harmonies and textures shape themselves in our bodies, bring our separate bodily systems into accord. It changes our breathing, changes our heartbeat, incites the body to organized movement, from the tapping toe to the swiveling hip to the whole body explosion. When we move, we are moved. E-motion means things are on the go and traveling to some destination of fuller presence and awareness and connection and we become feeling beings instead of asleep automatons. Our bodies awaken into something larger and more meaningful than two legs transporting our head from one dull subject to another.
When we feel good, we also feel connected, not only with our own self, our bodies, hearts and minds aligned harmoniously, but with the others in the room making or sharing the music with us. James Brown’s “EEYOW!!” changes pronouns to “We feel good, we knew that we would…”
So when the music is good, then we are good and when we are good, we are good together and when we are good together, the community is refreshed and when the community is refreshed, the echoes and ripples radiate out to the larger world and a little piece of healing happens. How could we go on without this?
One full day ahead and a final morning class with this exceptional group of people in Salzburg and I’m feeling like James Brown meets Mozart’s Requiem. So joyful to get to make music and dance for some 8 hours tomorrow, so painfully aware that all good things must end and though “the melody lingers on when the song is over,” the lingering is not as uplifting as the melody itself. There will be time enough of Friday to feel the full bittersweet flavor— meanwhile, on to Duke’s music tomorrow, in full confidence that it will sound good, be good and make us good people even gooder.