Submitted by NCDA District 2 East Representative, Tyler Buglewicz
The beginning of December is usually around the time of year where we begin to experience the true “grind” when it comes to working with our choirs. We find ourselves repeating ourselves quite often, and getting students to truly experience the joy of creating a truly nuanced and emotional musical product seems like a difficult task. It is understandable-students are burned out with their workload around this time, so when it comes to choir class, going through the motions seems like an acceptable demeanor in their minds. The question is, how can we encourage our ensembles to overcome this hump and move towards an area of active and engaged musicality.
I recently watched a Ted Talk featuring Evelyn Glennie, a Scottish virtuoso percussionist. Glennie has been profoundly deaf since the age of 12, and has taught herself to “hear” with other parts of her body other than her ears, sensing the vibrations in different pitches. In her Ted Talk, she speaks first of the idea of the interpretation of written music, and how just performing something with accuracy does not make that performance complete. She stated that it is what is not written in the music that the musician can explore within their personal instrumental apparatus that makes the performance of a particular piece of music interesting and musical.
The different interpretations of music that are defined to her as performed as a “technician” as opposed to a “musician” have a profound sound and focus difference. She goes on to compare judging a piece of written music upon first glance and sound to judging a person upon a first impression. We as people are able to infer some things about a person based upon how they look and present themselves, but we also know that it does not tell the entire story. The same can be said about music-only when we dig into the passion behind what is written can we truly understand what the music is about.
As we push through these last few weeks before our semester ends, I believe it is an important reminder for ourselves that with all the business and social details related to our choral duties, let’s not forget about the true musicianship we are able to promote among our ensembles and our ensemble members. By imploring our fellow musicians to sing beyond the written page, these next weeks do not have to be a struggle, but a new way to think about the part of our jobs that we love. Here is a link to the video-
District 2 East Representative
Papillion La Vista High School