Feed on

Like most holidays, Thanksgiving gives us a chance to be reflective, which of course I love.  Musicians think in musical terms – about relationships between pitches and harmonies, rhythmic patterns on various time scales, the big picture of musical form and of the ensemble, and where we fit into it.  So we are naturally inclined to think in those terms about life as well.

The particular focus of this day on food gives us a great chance to be more mindful of where our food comes from: what are we taking from the earth, and what are we giving in return?  Then (because of the official start of the holiday shopping season) there’s the broader issue of consumption.  I’ve done my share of consuming this year, but to take one thought from my last post, there are many ripple effects from our consumption behavior to consider and take responsibility for – including ones which are foreseeable but which we don’t usually stop to consider, as well as ones which we may have no idea of.  (As I sip my Peet’s coffee – where do they get their beans?  Are the local birds and forests happy about it?)

Finally, of course, the traditional reflection on our blessings is suitable for every day but especially today.  For a musician, the blessing of music and the perspective on life that it gives us is tremendous.  I am so thankful to be able to play, and to have the many avenues available to me to express myself and to study.  I’m grateful to have my piano while I’m letting my face recover from its recent marathon.  I’m grateful that people are interested in reading and/or hearing what I have to say in various contexts.  I am grateful to my many teachers, including countless ones in my daily life.

The experience of interconnectedness is fundamental to a musician’s life.  We strive for fluidity and resonance and harmony in our dailiy lives, and to create something over time that adds up to a larger work.  As part of a metaphorical orchestra or symphony, each of us has a role in creating music, so to speak, in how we choose to walk on the earth on which we depend.

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