Musical Respect

Fear – respect – being polite.

Fear of the authority is a physical and mental state no parent wishes his / her children every experience yet it is astonishing how this tool is being used. What is more horrific is how well people respond to intimidation even when it is used as the final resort. Did that happen because of lack of respect, poor demonstrations of strength and power, it was a habit? Teaching discipline and respect through fear and expecting it back through fear is a typical way to keep a herd of sheep. Not to inspire and raise children, not to have a band and not to be a person. But is that too idealistic???

One of the lessons I got from music from my early years was to be respectful. Be respectful of the score and the composer. Be respectful of the era and the historical facts. Be respectful of Tradition and Customs and those who came and played before you and those who are older and have progressed and your teachers of course. And most of the times or until you are older, no one truly explains why and what is this respect that we ought to show. My memory of how my peers and I showed this respect was by sitting quietly, not asking too many questions, being a bit passive with a positiv-ish more neutral attitude. But that kept us out of trouble (not an excuse).

This more passive way of receiving the gift of music later evoked another issue. Asking, researching and creating with confidence are skills that become harder with age. The fear of knowing something wrong is sometimes worse than not knowing that at all. Which might make sense as it’s easier to learn something than to unlearn and learn something different. Intimidation will make the student study, sometimes it might lit a spark but scaring people to get them inspired is a bit of a paradox. Fear keeps people in the dark. Love and passion move people forward.

I think it’s less likely to ignore the feeling of fear than the feeling of love. Essentially, an artist wants to evoke a feeling in the audience. Whether that audience is sitting in the hall, in front of a TV or a viedo-game console, or in a classroom, the performance should be excellent. And to keep the audience intrigued and concentrated offering fear a safe solution. I think it would be better though if at least in the classroom, during a lesson the feeling we want to evoke is love, passion and determination first of all on a personal level and people that are around us and then to music. Respect should come out naturally and discipline will be the internal power that makes us move forward. And know and teach why!

 

© Rania Chrysostomou, 2017

Patience through Practice

To value and devote time to recap. Go through what you have learnt so far and practice them on a beginners level. Practice slow. Playing or reading about what you already know as long as the intention is to move forward. You might realise something new, build muscle memory and brain memory, and my favourite, to make new brain connections to understand something else entirely different to music (if there is such a thing!).

Recapping, revisiting something already known shows a disciplined character. Do it with full purpose and intention, be humble to your knowledge and expertise and allow your body, brain and mind time for digestion time for digestion.

When I was at university I studied saxophone. My teacher would start my lesson with tenuti, so I had to practice them. I felt embarrassed at first, it didn’t sound interesting. I was doing this when I first started saxophone and my family would leave the house for the time I was practicing. Then this exercise progressed to “dropping the harmonics” as he called it. Something I wouldn’t be able to do as a beginner. I continued studying as my teacher guided: “slowly, take your time, challenge yourself for longer, listen, go again, be mindful”. My sound was comparable to the teacher’s in just 6 months.

Patience. Be patient with yourself. Be firm. Listen. Think. Organise. Take time and give time.

© Rania Chrysostomou, 2017