The Class of Beauty

Today during band, our band director said something that struck me as profound. To put it in context, here was the situation:

We were playing Steven Byant’s Dusk, and we came across the block chords that were supposed to be the climax of the piece (around measure 42, if I remember correctly). Being a high school band in its second full week of rehearsal, we weren’t doing so well. But this piece was, or rather, is all about the consonant beauty and the dissonant tension. It is the perfectly meshed cohesion of the two that make this piece truly fantastic.

Wanting to convey that to the band, our band director proceeded to emphasize the beauty that this piece can be. And I mean emphasize. Of course, the newer members found it comical and there was a round of laughter around the room. Then she said: “In all your other classes, you lean mechanics. This is the one class where we can make beauty. Can we do it without laughing about it?”

Of course, her intention was not to distinguish band from all the other classes. But I feel as if she did it more clearly than anyone possibly could have. Perhaps that’s why I find band to be the relief of my day. Perhaps that’s why I always seem to end up in the band room in my free time (Well, that’s probably because I’m a band geek). And perhaps that’s why music is truly an escape from school and the work of life, because I know that whether I’m playing, writing, or listening to music, I know that I am a part of something truly beautiful. 

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