Saturday, May 14, 2011

Musical Stepping Stairs

Last evening, we were invited to the piano recital of close friends' children, whom we adore. They did wonderfully; and we were so proud of them. Their son played "Come, Thou Long expected Jesus" beautifully and their daughter played a bouncy little tune that she ending with a dramatic note scaling - foot pedals in full regalia.  She's only six - darling. Another little friend of theirs, whose family we are acquainted with, was also in the recital and made a phenomenal ending of recital with "The Entertainer"; we were all entertained.
The evening before we were blessed with the gift of tickets to the Nashville Symphony, its highlight - a Russian pianist. She was brilliant. It was wonderful. We were amazed and quite possibly found a new "love".
Both evenings included pomp, fellowship and food of different sorts.  Of course, there were awards at the recital.  I was so impressed with the teacher, it wasn't the mamsy pamsy kind of thing, where she gave awards for breathing; she had actually graded the children and shared grades of the medalists and quantified their accomplishments.  She knows how to get the children striving for excellence and how to award them appropriately; that virtue is in short supply these days.  At the symphony, we were taught exactly how to give an encore; that little feeling as you see people rising and then as we continued clapping with them - we found out the performers and conductor comes back for a bow.  Lovely, really, although as my arms were tiring, I felt great empathy for the performers who must really get a workout as they play violently for extended periods.
As I watched the children bow, perform in earnest, bow, receive applause, and exit  and as I reflected on the beauty and replayed our amazement of the symphonic showing - CS Lewis' words again played in the back of my mind.  I have blogged it a couple times, here it is once more:
Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already. That is why children's games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups -playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits, so that the pretense of being grown-ups helps them grow up in earnest.

The stepping stones of life are just that, stepping stairs, climbing from piece to piece, memorizing, honing skills, enjoying the process, receive accolades for accomplishments.  Pomp is not - just pomp.  It has it's place in making milestones count; in making the memories into stones that we can give God praise for His  gracious workings in and through lives. 

One more little tangent on this subject, we are reading The Baptized Body by Dr. Leithart and the idea God establishes relationship with, and works in ,children just as we as parents, establish relationship with children is well expressed. (Great read!) We call them by name and shape the identity of who they are and how they see themselves. 
As children are taught, and walk in practice, they grow into who they are - they do that in faith, they do that in life, and they do that in music.  It is indeed, a wonderful thing.

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