In the space of the next month, I will be performing onstage with the Oregon Symphony (Mahler Symphony No. 2! complete with masked chorus!), at Pacific University and The Old Church with Kevin Lefohn, the violinist from the Bodhi Trio, as well as a newly formed Cello Quartet.
This morning I also got to work with a group of 20 young musicians, breathing together, resonating, listening, and connecting. The joy was palpable as we improved our piece through deliberate practice and calm, centered focus.
My weekly life is filled with lessons, in person and online, sharing hope in the form of beautiful sound.
Hope in the Guise of Sound
Coming out of the pandemic, connecting with live sound has never been so precious. Whether working with complete beginners, advanced students, or fantastic colleagues, I have been stressing the importance of the virtuous cycle:
- play at least 4 long bows on an open string
- enjoy the sound, allowing the enjoyment to induce relaxation
- infuse the relaxation into an even deeper, more resonant sound
- enjoy-relax-infuse, enjoy-relax-infuse
We need sound, we need music, now more than ever. For as long as there is beauty in sound, there is beauty in spirit. And as long as there is beauty in spirit, there is hope.
Every single one of our lives has been changed to some degree from the past 18 months, some more deeply than others. There is a chronic loss of hope, an increase in suicide, a deep pervading feeling of despair.
Whenever we look at climate change, politics, racial inequality, the idea of music seems so irrelevant. An extra only the elite can afford. A nice thing for those who have the privilege of the time to spend on it.
But what I’ve learned and experienced is this:
Music changes consciousness. Sound shares hope.
In my last blog, I shared how playing for a week of cello healing sessions changed my life. It showed me that I could not have stage fright when I was in the midst of true compassion. It showed me that sound, no matter how simple, can convey states of feeling, of hope, that brought a woman into full consciousness so that she could speak and connect with her daughter before passing a few days later. My time with her showed me that I could take my close experience of Spirit and create a sonic refuge for another before she passed.
Her daughter said the last thing her mother consciously heard was the sound of my cello.
As I considered the impact of that, I realized that I could expand the ideal of sharing hope through sound into every musical opportunity.
Here’s what I mean by “hope”
Hope is not wishful thinking. Hope is a vibration. It is an energy that can be transferred through many mediums, not just music or sound. It is a state of consciousness that once you get into it, you want to keep.
Hope can come through both inner and outer experiences. I use the fruits of my meditation practice to infuse my sound with hope. Other times I’ll find inspiration through the words of others, and fire my enthusiasm to move my energy in the right direction to get to the level of hope.
We don’t know how this story ends. But we have a choice in how we live it.
Hope is a choice. Like the delta variant, it is highly contagious.
Find hope. Share it.