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June 27, 2005


Hi Midori:

I'm interested to hear about your debut in Singapore went over the weekend. They were your first-ever concerts there, no?

I was struck very much in your last post by how differently artists choose what they do from how critics or academics assess those choices. You describe a very tactile process - how one piece flows or contrasts into the next, how important your desire to perform it is, how the music feels... I think critics often approach art by thinking about how the ideas go together and considering lots of other "stuff" around the music. Quite a different thing.

Which of course makes me think about how audiences come to music. Me, I'm a tactile guy. I can't remember the words to a single song. But I feel the way harmony moves (actually kind of "see" it in my mind) and have strong feelings about where a musical line wants to go. The theoretical underpinnings of music are interesting, but in the end they seem more useful as explanations or descriptions rather than rules. After the fact. History and context are more interesting, but seem more like side alleys than central to the understanding of a piece of music.

All my circuitous way of wondering how you think about getting audiences more deeply involved in music. My inclination is to think that experiencial experiences make the deepest impression. But I've seen far too many music education efforts that botch this. Music is a thing that people have such a personal relationship with that it seems difficult to teach on a mass scale. Are music vocabulary and history essential or are they just the lure to reel them in?

You have such a personal relationship with music; I'm wondering how you try to translate that personal relationship away from the act of playing your instrument, say when you're doing your education programs?

And tell me about Singapore!


Posted by mclennan at June 27, 2005 12:10 PM