Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Two Measures of Rest

It's getting close to our orchestra concert. The pieces are starting to come together and sound musical. The musicians are learning to work with one another's strengths and weaknesses, our conductor is trying her best to lead and move us to greater effort, and my stand partner is doing her very best to help me where I still need it.

I have issues with rests. Especially small rests; just a semiquaver of absolute silence and stillness. Sometimes I even ignore them, and will just go pppp and hold the note out softly. (I know, I know... blasphemy... blatant musical rebellion... unthinkable lack of musicianship. My conductor has told me.)

There is one particular place I hate -- two measures of second violin silence during a Beethoven piece. I usually take it to run over my fingerings real quick, stare at the difficult measures ahead.

But last night, I tried something different. I embraced and enjoyed the silence, enjoyed the music flowing out of the other sections. In a sense, I became the silence for a moment. For just a moment in a beautiful piece -- silence was my music. It was beautiful.


God has given me amazing, beautiful, and talented friends.

Some of them are intellectuals beyond what I could ever hope to be; some of them speak Latin and Greek and Hebrew, teach advanced Calculus, and can read Sophocles like he was paperback fiction.

Some of them are musically brilliant; some of think in terms of quavers and andante and Clementi, some of them can make their teacher's cry through their performance, and some of them eat Liszt for breakfast.

Some of them are naturally artistic; some of them scribble up portraits that go beyond realism and actually encompass the soul, some of them write and awe like the two are eternally intertwined, and some of have rhythm woven into their muscle.

Some of them are all three.

Most of the time I am so proud of them. (And wondering why on earth they ever chose to be friends with me.) But sometimes I just feel a little intimidated.


I have my moments where I play out and surprise myself, hard times where I just barely make it through, and hard times where I don't make it through at all and have to jump back in when I can.

And then I rest.

I don't always have to shine. This life isn't about me anyway. It's a gift that's being handed to me, precious moments where I can stand in awe of those I love and feel blessed by their talent.

When you actually take the time to enjoy it, it's beautiful to hear what everyone else can do.

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