Friday, June 30, 2017

Enlarging the Soul

“Every object truly, rightly seen, unlocks a new faculty of the soul.” 
      Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Every musical groove, rightly played, sung, danced and felt, unlocks a new faculty of the soul.”       -Me

And so another marvelous day in this wonderfully weird world of Orff workshops. The pay-off for creating a lesson that step-by-step reveals the intricate workings of a great piece of music is that they play it well and we all are refreshed by the groove. And so many different grooves to explore! In the last two days alone, the North Ghana xylophone groove, the Deep South blues groove, the Big Band Swing groove, the exquisite slow ballad groove, the Latin Jazz Groove and more. Each one charged the air with an electric power and each in its own particular style. After the last note, we walked out the door to lunch still singing, the buzz still in the air.

And because we learned each piece through the body, through the hand, through the heart, through the voice, through the ear, through the imagination, through the analytic intellect (always last in line), we felt the full vibration of each note from our toes to our head and back again. And because our intent was revelation of the particular beauty each of us carries inside, because our concern was connection—with the music, with ourselves and with each other, because our hope was joy shared and multiplied, we grew so much larger than those musicians who just want to show off technique or outplay their competitors. People felt free to try new things (stand-up bass particularly popular), to try out a pentatonic solo on Moonglow and just hear what happens, to choreograph a dazzling Lindy Hop to live music.

And so all day long, as it has been for the last four days, we are immersed in a carnival of Soul, with new faculties opening right before our eyes and ears and in full view of our fellow players. We have grown large enough to have deep conversations without fear of being misunderstood, to cry in front of with each other, to laugh with each other, to set aside any remorse for how we might have taught better or played better or lived better and just open the door wide to the bright new day that beckons.

Emerson would have been proud.

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