Monday, May 2, 2011

Ability vs. musicality; nature vs. nurture

On Saturday, Thomas and I had another opportunity to go to an orchestra concert. True, I was tired from having worked all day, and Thomas seemed tired from having run a 10K in the morning (and helping me move out of the apartment), but we went. I was again impressed by a violin soloist, Johnathan Magness, and I was reminded that I absolutely love Dvorak. Another thought I had, though, was about the act of teaching music. 

Clearly, this violinist and all of the orchestra members are terrific musicians. I had to help run an event at work that morning, also having to do with violin players-- and I say "violin players" because they were children, very young to maybe high school-aged. They were giving an annual recital. (Mom, they weren't Suzuki, though they did play a lot of Suzuki songs.) Now, they are learning how to play violin. They are learning about music by experiencing an instrument. But in my book, they weren't musicians. Yet. 

This is not Bash.
I have played violin since I was two (nearly three) years old. I can tell you that I do not ever remember being enthralled by the music I played. I do not have a memory of hearing a piece and having trouble resisting some temptation to learn it. I do, however, recall seeing a couple other kids who had a need to know a piece. Certainly, I have benefited from my Suzuki instruction, but my big question is: How is musicianship taught? Or is it? At what point does the ability to play an instrument, or use your voice to sing a song, become musical? I believe that I am a musician, but I do not think I was a musician until very recently. I suppose I am wondering whether or not musicality can be instructed. Can one be taught to be a musician, or is musicianship (and lack thereof) a part of one's nature?

On a very different topic: Thomas and I are now dog owners! Yesterday, we adopted a 10-month-old, black labrador/retriever mix from the Humane Society. We love him! We have (just this moment) named him Bash. (There is a story behind his name, but you'll have to ask me to have Thomas relay it to you...)

Pictures of Bash to come. 

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