ain't baroque! :||
Don't Fix It

You’re kind of awesome

This post starts out about ballet, but bear with me – I promise I have a musical point.

As you may know, I am an amateur ballerina. Key word being amateur; I’ve been doing it enough years that I am pretty good, but I can barely turn out a triple pirouette to save my life, my turnout is average at best, and my feet, while strong, could have higher arches. In short, I am an Okay Dancer.

This is not a story about proving myself wrong about that. This is a story about how a friend of mine came to ballet class with me, a friend who had never danced before in her life, and afterward she was so embarrassed because she couldn’t bend her body like I could. “I thought you were amazing,” she said.

Was I amazing, to the full extent that ballerinas can be amazing? Hell no. But compared to a non-dancer, I could do a thousand things other people could never dream of doing – simply things that felt so easy to me, leaps and jumps and lifts of the leg imperfectly executed but nonetheless executed, that I’d been doing for so long that I took them for granted.

And I think musicians are like that too. I think we forget that there are so many people who look at a piece of sheet music and see a random assortment of dots and lines. They compose a foreign language; they have no meaning.

To those who haven’t studied music, the ability to play a scale is a miraculous thing. Understanding of arpeggios? Genius! Bach’s “Minuet in G”? Astounding! All these tiny little things we’ve learned over the years that mean nothing to us because we’ve known them so long and the fingerings are ingrained in our muscle memory and a D# is a D# is a D# and how could anyone not know that?

But there are a surprising number of people who don’t know that. But you do. And it sounds really dumb, but I think it might be nice if, next time you play an instrument or read a score or parse a complicated symphony in your head, you think, “It’s pretty cool that I can do this. Not everyone can.”

About Jenn

Despite being the former digital marketing intern at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Jenn German does not like Mozart. Beethoven could've totally beaten him up. Also she has an arts management graduate degree from American University, but this changes nothing.


2 thoughts on “You’re kind of awesome

  1. Awesome, Jenn! Even writing is a skill not everyone can do or enjoy. That’s what makes life online very difficult for some. But I recently had a similar experience in my http://www.WhoKnewClass.com – the attendees are music or theater fans and soon-to-be fans (when I’m done with them) not sure if they want to attend a concert or show. We explore the material. Everyone is grateful and remind me that I am a true Maestro… to them. It’s hard to remember when you’re standing in front of beginner players or seasoned professionals, but as far as many of the paying public are concerned, our width and depth of knowledge about history, literature, music, art/ architecture and sociology is impressive. Bravo, all performers!

    Posted by Stephen P Brown (@Stephen_P_Brown) | October 16, 2012, 10:15 am

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