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The Artistry of Music
By Kimberly A. Shadley
Art speaks for us when words
can no longer express the ineffable in the
human spirit, overwhelming emotion, a
sense of awe and wonder, patriotism, and
the like. We speak of such things but our
words merely dance around the edges of
what we mean and what we feel. I have
come to understand music as the
quintessential in which art speaks for the
soul. Music is the interpreter of the inner
wordless voice of the soul for all of those
things which we mean, love, joy, sorrow,
pain, anguish, exultation, longing, etc.,
but can never accurately or fully say.
Music gives us the chance to communicate
them with our whole being. It requires an
integration of mind, body and soul to
elevate playing a piece of music to an
artistic expression.
A musician is a person who practices and
performs well and often. An artist is a
musician whose soul is touched by the
power of music to the point that one must
join in the making of the music. The power
of music never leaves us, whether or not
we are musicians or artists. How many
times have I heard or read stories of people
suffering with Alzheimer’s who cannot
remember the names of their children, but
could remember and sing all the words to
their favorite hymn or could barely feed
themselves, but could still play the piano?
Neuro-scientists are just beginning to
discover the ways in which melodies
weave themselves inextricably into our
brains. Understood or not, a melody can
be a last link with the world and our loved
ones. Music seems to enchant the soul
(and brain) and, thankfully, some of its
spells can never be undone. The next time
you switch on your ipod, mp3 player, CD,
or other device through which you enjoy
music, be warned: the music you hear is
intertwining itself into the very fabric of
your being.
The gift of the artist is to enter into the
music and its power so fully that when
the artist plays the audience experiences
and feels the music with she or he and is
moved by the same enchantment that
bewitches the soul of the artist. A great
artist has not only mastery of technical
skill, but a touch of the infamous pied
piper. Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Phantom
of the Opera is a marvelous example with
its dark, passionate, longing filled
melodic lines, the narrative and music
that work together to demonstrate the
deep pull, almost hypnosis, and
profound power of music to both enslave
us to and free us from our passions. An
artist opens the door for you to feel and
believe in things that are not tangible or
utterable although they are very real.
(Just between us) I somewhat bashfully
admit to seeing The Phantom of the Opera
five or six times in movie theaters when it
first debuted.
Neither before nor since have I been to see
a movie more than once in theatres. Many
times I have seen stage productions. I
admit my miniature obsession because I
know that it is not an isolated obsession.
How many of your acquaintances go to see
this particular musical whenever it plays,
often multiple times? I know several. And
it’s not just Phantom of the Opera, think of
Wicked or RENT. To me these examples
are a lived demonstration of the power of
music to pull us in, to wrap us up in
another world and expand our ability to
participate in a broader emotional
spectrum than an ordinary day
encompasses. Of course, the power of
music is not limited to one kind. It applies
to any type of music: rock, popular,
classical, jazz, sacred, etc. The hypnosis of
music is not simply an erotic phenomenon
as I’m sure some think, it is a musical,
emotional and thoroughly human
phenomenon to be so embraced and
overpowered by music.
If you’ll forgive my personification of
music for a moment: music, like truth, is
not known unless she is loved. Artists and
musicians are, after a fashion, married to
their music. You live with it day in and
day out, eat with it, sleep with it going
through your head, hate it, love it, have
arguments with it, feel guilty because of it,
respect it, and so on. There are good days
and bad ones, dry spells and periods of
exultation and triumph.
Every musician experiences these things to
varying degrees. Every music teacher not
only lives with music herself, but has the
joy of showing others how to live with
music and that responsibility is greatest
when it is hard for the student to detect
the joy through the difficult phases.
K.A. Shadley has
been in love with
music her entire life.
Singing began at age 3. Piano and other music lessons followed.
She has been a soloist and handpicked by teachers to participate in
ensembles. Her teaching career began in college. Currently her
own musical ambitions have been curtailed by Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome, but she continues to teach a core group of students and
loves every minute.
Special Interest
Power of Music
As a music teacher and
director it is my
ultimate goal to
introduce students to
the power, joy and
beauty of music and
being a musician.
Notes, rhythms, time
signatures, key
signatures, dynamic
markings, tempos,
correct posture, hand
position, technique, all
of these things are the
elements which
musicians attempt to
master on the way to
true artistic expression.