Saturday, September 06, 2008

creative practice: being there

These past several weeks, I’ve been watching some of the speeches at the US Democratic and Republican party conventions. One of the ideas that struck me, across both conventions, had not to do with politics, but with music, or rather, with the nature of public performance. As someone who’s worked in television and radio for a number of years, I have a good eye for what’s scripted and what’s not, what’s meant for the larger audience and what are those moments less public, though played out in the public arena, those quick glances, those moments of expression and word and gesture that mark a connection other than the public audience one. Beyond the speeches about and from the Clintons, Obama, Biden, McCain, and Palin and the questions and controversies about their personalities and policies, I saw several such moments at these gatherings.

I’ve often been among the listeners when my friends play music, sometimes in a small club or at a kitchen table, sometimes in a symphony hall or to a festival audience of thousands. I know my friends are working -- usually I am too -- and it’s rarely a time for much in the way of conversation. But those waves from the stages, those shared glances and smiles and gestures do matter, I have come to learn over the years. They are part of keeping friendship going, for one thing, and they are support, on both sides, for another. It’s an act of confidence, and of humility, to offer one’s music to a roomful, or a stadium full of strangers, and it’s not any easier when the room isn’t so full, either. Never doubt the power of connection.

for music to go along with this, I'd suggest that you go support your favorite musician at a live gig, or write them a note to let them know you remember them out on the road.

you may also want to see

Music Road: now playing: The Best of Friends

Music Road: creative practice:witness

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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