Many people (my wife amongst them) are impatient with people like me who save letters, workshop notes, sometimes train tickets or concert tickets or other such reminders that “This happened. I was here.” But I’m sticking with my intuition that such things matter, that looking through old workshop notes I sometimes get an idea for my next one, having forgotten that wonderful song/game/activity that I did 30 years ago. That reading a letter from a friend from way back then carries a certain sweetness. That finding something I wrote long ago reminds me, again and again, that nothing has changed much in terms of the things I think about it, the things I value, the things I dream of. Of course, I know that my children will not want to deal with these things when I’m gone and that there will come a time soon when I pass through them all once more, enjoy the memory and let them go. But not yet.
This on my mind because a student I taught back in 1972 that I’m still in touch with recently sent me some notes from a music class I was teaching. She’s over 60 years old and is probably going through that process of sorting and letting go, but once again, her fellow pack-rat proclivities brought me a moment of happiness and again, that sense that I could have written the exact same thing today, with just a shift in language. There’s no date on my little essay about listening to music, but the fact that it was a ditto sheet (the original handwritten!) makes me suspect it came from the late 1970’s when I was teaching an Orff Course to teachers. She sent this to me as a photo, but said she would snail-mail the other ten pages, relieving her rat’s nest and adding to mine. So it goes.
Read on (if you can decipher ditto-print!) and see if any of this ideas about listening to and playing music resonate with you.