Friday, October 7, 2011
Come, Come, Whoever You Are
Greetings of the Autumn, dear ones.
I've been way too busy to write, but here I am again with too much time on my hands. Click on the arrowhead to see and hear this stunning tune by Dale Zola, with text by Rumi (pacing up and down by Ana). I taught this in Ottawa in August at a Music That Makes Community Conference. It was taught without black dots on paper ("the music"), because I've found using the music to be both help and hindrance in teaching this tune. It took longer than what you see here, but every time I teach it with the music (and the readers always beg for it), it goes from being a little insecure, but very musical, to being stiff and lacking in anything resembling musicality or community. All the heads go down, never to be seen or heard from again. What's the use of having strong singers if their heads are buried in a book? Alice Parker once said (or maybe she's said it a thousand times:) 95% of the music is not on the page. What's worse than singing the words "Come, come, whoever you are" than singing it to no one at all and not meaning it? Don't forget to pray the things you're singing, otherwise you're missing a huge piece of the pie.
Now that I mention it, there is one experience I had this year that struck me as the worst musical disconnect I've been a part of in a long time.
I was sitting at a round table with about a dozen people, one of whom was a very famous teacher. He turned on a CD and asked us to listen, learn and sing a chant as a centering meditation. The text was something like "wherever you turn, there is the face of God." I listened, marked, learned and inwardly digested the recording, and then opened my eyes to sing and see the face of God, expecting to be able to play with the people around the table, but not one person opened their eyes to look. This went on for more than five minutes! What is up with that?
Pay attention, people. Life's short. Get out of your heads, Come, Come again! Come! Let the singing move you to action. Build a well, Occupy Wall Street, visit the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the naked. We can do it all while singing, and the world will be better for it.