Friday, February 28, 2014

Keep It Running

“Imagine driving through town and shutting off the engine at every light and stop sign.
Not only would it wear and tear the engine and waste gas (more to start up than to keep idling) but it would be maddening to the flow of the drive. And yet this is often the way we teach our music classes.

Once you get the engine of musicality running— the beat bouncing in the body, the tune singing in the ear, the xylophones ringing—keep it going! Even if you need to give a short next direction, keep those motors idling—fingers snapping while you talk, basses continuing with the drone— so all are poised to jump back in. Just as flow is one of the essential joys of a piece of music, a dependable moving stream of sound and motion uninterrupted by cell phones or unneeded explanations, so is it essential to the music class itself. Or any class, for that matter.”

This the paragraph that wrote itself in my awakening 7:00 am mind, the next 160 words in a new book I’m writing tentatively titled “Teach Like It’s Music.” I have two and half weeks to drive as far as I can with this motor running before I have to rest the engine when I take off on my next trip. And this sense of being on constant idle is one of the great pleasures of writing a book— you go to bed with the last sentence purring in your mind and wake up with the next one. There is a musical flow, a rhythmic momentum to the act of writing, a through line that connects all the dots of your days.

It is also one of the great terrors of book-writing— the engine is constantly running, you can’t easily shut it off and give it a rest while you go for a walk or a bike ride. It ain’t over until it’s over and even when you drive home from the hospital with the baby in your hands and finally shut off the car and leave it in the garage, you still have to raise the kid!

But for now, I’m at the beginning stages and happily so and this blog may continue with a short entry here and there, but right now, my heart is elsewhere. 


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