I remember my first symphony concert. I was probably about 7 or 8 and my dad bought me and my sister tickets for a Valentine’s Day present. I was so excited. I had heard people talk about the symphony in such reverent and important tones, and now, I was going to get to experience it for myself! I grew up listening to classical music and taking piano lessons, but had never seen a whole orchestra perform live. My imagination went wild.
My dad described everything to me: the vivid conductor, the beautiful ladies wearing pearls and fur, and the ornate details of the theatre hall. It was aspirational for me–as if, one day, I too could have fancy clothes and shiny jewels and a handsome man. I felt so grown up.
I loved the symphony.
So, I still go. Me and Husband and all the old people just chilling downtown taking in the classical music scene.
But, as I was maxin’ and relaxin’ all cool last week soaking up my first concert of the season, it hit me: we all need to attend more symphonies! Symphonies teach us so many things!
1. Practice Makes Perfect. Like a lot of practice, like years and years to master a craft. Dedication that makes my five-year PhD program look like hot second.
2. Your Life Work Can Take Years (and that’s OK!) So many composers dedicated a lifetime to their music, not just the summer after college or the years before having babies.
3. Beautiful Things Create a Legacy. We play and listen to music that still means something, even centuries after the composer has past. The beauty we create today can transcend generations and push itself into the future. No time stamp or Twitter required.
4. Music Can Change Your Life. We all know that children who take music lessons do better in school and get in less trouble, which is why all 90’s children learned how to play an instrument. But music can also bring people together, introduce people to new traditions, and make people feel a part of something. Music has inspired me to finish a paper, start dancing, and whisper a secret. The discipline of music taught me about reaching goals and overcoming performance anxiety and making people smile and dreaming of a successful life–things that have stuck with me long after my piano lessons ended.
I could go on about the added lessons of teamwork and following directions and maintaining grit, but you get the point: the symphony pretty much rocks.
So, go. Get season tickets. Or student discounts. Dress up. Read the program. Slow down and watch the bow bend and the strings shake. Study the conductor. Take a deep breath.