Not a day goes by that I don’t consider my gratitude for my musical pursuit. Even on days I don’t practice, I see the violin case out of the corner of my eye and smile. Nearly always, I’ve got one of the pieces in my repertoire playing on repeat in my head. And, though not every day, I often consider with awe the very notion of music, along with the fact that we humans have figured out how to make music with strings. With all the bad that we’re capable of doing to ourselves, we sure knocked it out of the park when we came up with music.
Music makes people happy. It’s true that some is darkly expressive, of the angst of death, love lost, or of injustice. But the vehicle of music as a tool of expression serves to make all those bad things better. Few parts of life are as simple as the joy of music. In our complicated world, when a musician passes from this life, I’m often able to think to myself, in a very uncomplicated way, “They sure made a lot of people happy.” David Cassidy, an example from this week, leaps immediately to mind. He sure made a lot of people happy.
I’ve been making music myself for four years this month. Four years is, at once, not much time and quite a lot. Four years is just under ten percent of my life. It’s twice as long as the restaurant industry experience that was so formative in my young adulthood, and twice the length of time it took me to earn a master’s degree. It’s the same length of time I spent in high school. It’s not yet a third of the time I’ve been training in karate, nor a fourth of the time I’ve been running for wellness.
Over these past four years, playing the violin – being a violinist, being a musician – has become a big part of my identity. If, as humans, we are mainly defined by how we treat other people and by what we do with our time then I don’t think it’s too much to suggest that music ranks as one of our loftiest passions.
Thanks for reading.