Many years ago I went to an art exhibition in Auckland and beheld, for the first time, the difference between an art print and the sheer magnificence of the original work. It was the Reader’s Digest exhibition from memory (I’m talking the early 1980’s here), and the painting which stopped me in my tracks was Monet’s “Paysage Dans L’Ile Saint Martin”. I don’t recall how much the entry fee was, but the impact of that painting will stay with me forever. Until that time I had virtually zero appreciation of the value of art, or for that matter, the meaning of the word “priceless”.
So, when an invitation to the 2008 Institute of Registered Music Teachers Showcase Concert came my way, I hadn’t the slightest idea of what to expect. In effect the IRMT (BOP Branch) event was an opportunity for our local children to showcase their musical talents, but for me, it turned out to be a second epiphany which I can’t help but liken to the viewing of that huge, original, Monet canvas.
The entry fee this time was $6, and my neighbour who’d invited me along even shouted me. So for me the only investment was my time, yet the experience was priceless. And there’s that huge word again. What these children are able to do with piano and violin is beyond description.
I imagine a formal “review” of this type of event would include knowledgeable references to the types and styles of music played, but I am a very ordinary Kiwi, and my musical history is limited pretty much to what I heard on the radio when I was young. I don’t even listen to that much anymore.
So the Chopin’s and the Debussy’s and the Mendelssohn’s simply conspired together for a night of sheer bliss and inspiration.
Fingers delighting on keyboard
Bows dancing deftly on strings
Piano, violin, songbirds, cello and flute.
And that brings me back to the Monet.
No recording could ever speak to the heart of the listener, as the original performance can do. The instruments were given life by the players.
What also struck me was the countless hours of practice that must go into the apparent “talent” of these young musicians. Forgive the quote marks. There is no question that they are genuinely talented, but this talent is so clearly gained via sheer application and hard work. This was a new slant on the concept of talent for me. I used to think of it as a natural aptitude, but now I believe it can be acquired by anyone so motivated to be prepared to work towards it.
This performance literally altered my view of the world to such a profound extent, that I had the idea to somehow duplicate the idea of the “books in homes” program, to establish a “music in homes” version. ?? Or at least find out a means of sponsoring/encouraging both parents and children, to go out and see at least one live performance.
For all their youth, and they ranged in age from about 8 to 18, they opened places in my heart, that I had forgotten existed.
I don’t know what music lessons cost, but I do have an idea of their value now, and my 6yo is already booked in.