I grew up in an environment where music was venerated and seen as something to approach with reverence. My family and the community around me looked up to the music and composers we studied. The goal of our music education was to perform for audiences that appreciated the music we studied.
We had a community around us — church, school, neighborhood — but we mostly engaged with our community through performance. When I received applause, it was an easy substitute for the authentic connection that I really wanted.
It is not surprising, then, that most of my blog posts are devoted to exploring my relationship to music — how it factors into daily life, what level of importance it deserves, my desire to make the violin more accessible and remove it from the pedestal it has been put on, differentiating recreational music from performance, the value of a music community.
I am one of the very few of my family and friends that returned to music after stopping at the end of school. Since then I have shifted my relationship to music (or, to put it another way, the role it plays in my life). I’m now more interested in playing with people than playing for people. When I play for others, my hope is to move, rather than impress, people. After lots of trial and error, I can now use music to complement the social environment that I am in, connect me to the musicians I’m playing with or simply help express the feelings within me.
I think my family would have struggled with relationships even if we had not performed music. But I think it’s unfortunate that we did not utilize our musical skills to connect us more closely with those around us. Instead of putting so much energy into performing for people, we could have been playing with people. We had an amazing tool for building relationships at our fingertips and we missed the opportunity.