What It’s All About

Happy New Year, music nerds! Can you believe we’re a week into 2011 already?

I must confess, Miss Music Nerd has been a bit of a basket case for the past month or so. The holiday season can be a very hectic time for any musician, but if you’re a church musician – well, to say it’s a working holiday is a massive understatement! In addition to that, McDoc and I moved to a new apartment just before Thanksgiving (yes, we’re crazy, we know), and moving, even locally, is always a travail. And finally, McDoc has been arranging for a lot of business travel in the coming months, to prepare for that fast-approaching day when his time as a resident comes to a close, and he has to have his next step all queued up. Oh, and then there’s the GRAMMYS®! I will once again serve as the community blogger for the Classical Field – look for my first official post very soon!

In short, there’s a lot going on.

At times like this, I find it’s really easy to get overwrought, to lose perspective, to view the work that I love as a chore, simply because I feel so frustrated about not being able to keep up. Fortunately, the universe eventually arranges to remind me what it’s all about.

Believe it or not, I actually have a hard time getting myself to just sit down and listen to music, without doing anything else. I tend to be so busy doing other music-related things – practicing, planning, reading and writing about music – that the thing itself gets lost in the shuffle. The other day, McDoc had put on a CD of opera duets, the kind of greatest hits compilation that hard-core music snobs might sniff at. I had been to-ing and fro-ing in my usual frantic way, and I decided, for once, to take a break, lay on the sofa, and just listen.

The next track to come up was “Viens, Mallika,” the so-called Flower Duet from Léo Delibes‘ opera Lakmé. It’s so well-known, you’ll probably recognize it even if you’ve never heard of Delibes or his opera. The piece has been used in commercials for chocolates and airlines, for crying out loud! The music is so familiar, in fact, that it’s easy to forget how beautiful it really is.

Laying there on the sofa listening to this, I was able to reconnect a bit with why I love music in the first place. When I slow down and give myself a chance to really feel the music in my bones, I’m transported – yet at the same time, I feel completely and effortlessly rooted. Everything is in balance, and all is right with the world, at least for a few moments at a time.

It’s comforting to know that a respite from my obsessive tendency to worry and obsess and overthink everything is always a available to me, if only I’ll reach out for it. I’m just lucky I have McDoc to act as DJ when I’m too frazzled to do it myself!



What It’s All About — 5 Comments

  1. Ah, Linda…thanks for reminding the rest of us too! I am guilty of listening to NPR too much and music not enough…and have been trying to listen to music more. Reading about you being transported by music was so familiar to me! Since I’ve been trying to re-introduce music into my life lately, I’ve been struck by just how much music can make me feel, and feel moved and whole and peaceful. It’s so interesting to read this post just as I have been thinking about this stuff…

    Thanks Miss Music Nerd!

  2. Thank you, Monica! It’s funny that you mention NPR, because that’s exactly what I do, too! It takes effort for me to listen to music because I just can’t tune it out and have it in the background like many people can. But it’s worth it!

    It’s nice to know that others have similar experiences, and I’m glad I happened to write this as you were thinking about it! 🙂

  3. A colleague remarked that sometimes even going to a concert can feel like a “busman’s holiday” and I think that’s true. But I love your post here because it serves as an excellent reminder. Even if I feel reticent to go to a concert, or put on a CD, that reticence is usually out the window within a few measures. Thanks for your post!

  4. Thanks for your comment, Rebecca. I used to think I was the only musician who had the weird habit of *not* listening to music, until I talked to some others who had the same experience. It’s hard for musicians to find time to connect with music in the flurry of their professional activities, but it really makes a difference!