When thinking about the gifts one receives on Christmas or Hanukkah, certainly appreciating the gift of family is at the top of my list. There is nothing more precious than someone you love returning that feeling enthusiastically, whether a grandparent, parent, sibling, partner, friend, or probably the most satisfying, a child. No matter what is happening in the crazy economic tsunami that we are all having to endure, there are constants in life that help stabilize our sense of self. I would say that faith certainly factors prominently into this mix as well.
For me, another constant is the gift of music as both listener and practitioner. There is something about organized sound that excites me now more than ever, even after years of working at it ferociously. Part of what musicians do is very grinding in nature, trying to perfect little complications that drift unwelcomed into our musical midst! Some of this deals with awareness, some is just due to the rigors of life. Unfortunately small details can have major consequences when performing under pressure!
But despite the blue collar aesthetic that musicians must use daily to stay in shape much as an athlete, there is something miraculous in the making of and the experience of listening to music in life's diet. It's a journey that is truly full of discovery about yourself and the world around you. Each composer tries to capture a slice of beauty out of a universe of possibility, and even when you play or hear a piece repeatedly, there are both deep and simple pleasures that continue to surround and enter us over and again.
Music remains a constant: life affirming, soul nourishing, humor provoking, emotion tugging, and just fun. It's why I decided early on that music was what I HAD to do. I didn't have a choice even though I had other interests. Along the way we take detours with motives, and in the process of failure in our journey, which happens to most everyone unless you have the lotto gene, it's easy to leave your senses and forget what it's all about.
But somehow this time of the year offers a wonderful opportunity to remember the gifts that keep giving in our lives. Beyond the greatest gift of family and faith, music is at the core of God's gifts in my mind. It's this taste of the divine that keeps me coming back for more, and each year, I seem to more fully appreciate this pleasure.
I wish you a many blessings this year on this Christmas day and hope that your life is full of wonderful, beautiful music.