After a sleepless night and long day of classes, the last thing I wanted to do yesterday evening was drag myself out of bed to attend a Meadows Faculty Artist & Distinguished Alumni recital. It is a requirement to attend Meadows concerts and do a small write up on them for a music history course I am enrolled in, and boy did I dread the assignment when I first saw the syllabus.
About 20 minutes into the performance, I became very grateful. I was having a type of experience that some people will never have the opportunity to be exposed to. Right in front of me was Matt Albert, a violinist that has won multiple Grammys, and Adam Marks who has accomplished so much on the piano. Had I heard of them? No. But are they great? Yes. Have I heard of Ricky Martin and LMFAO? Yes. Are they great? Eh, debatable.
Less than 24 hours ago if I were to have been in charge of cutting a program from a school I would have without hesitation sliced art, and I was a studio art student throughout grade school. I thought it was just a hobby that people could pick up in their spare time and that be enough. What was I thinking? Not every kid’s family can afford to buy them instruments and paints and put them in classes. School’s purpose is to help shape children into better citizens, not toss them through the assembly line hoping they have all the facts memorized. I was blessed to go through school with teachers that exposed me to Fiddler on the Roof and Henri Matisse and even Martha Graham, but now I realize that was a very special case for a public school student. Even with my fortunate schooling, I sat staring at a violinist and a pianist not knowing anything about what they were doing or the emotions they were supposed to force out of me. I saw what I was supposed to feel as Marks’ fingers glided over the keys and Albert used his whole body to play his violin and also on the faces of the audience, but I remained feeling nothing but confused as I watched a man in front of me wipe a tear from his face.
I am another product of mass assembly even after having teachers that were a kink in the line. I still go through the day afraid to dream something because it may be wrong. If I didn’t, I could have imagined my own stories and feeling within the music being played right in front of me.
What these men do is stunning to watch, and I know simply from trying to learn Mary Had a Little Lamb on the piano that it is also a very difficult skill. Yet I just don’t get it like I do a corny movie or a Kelly Clarkson song that states very blatantly what it means. It is a critical, think out side the box, kind of thought that I am missing.
I see the reasoning behind people’s passion for preserving art. It not only gives somebody a chance to paint or strum their emotions instead of holding them in, since flat out saying them is a discomforting thought, but it also broadens the mind. It has become very apparent to me that art is vital to furthering our society and should be encouraged not squashed.