“Every note of the scale has an opportunity to be a part of a beautiful melody”.
One of the fun things I do is to perform with the Henderson Symphony Orchestra. It is a volunteer organization which has developed quite a reputation. During this week’s rehearsal, I had a few intriguing thoughts about how an orchestra, in many ways, is symbolic to life. The correlations were so fitting that I wanted to share them.
Glancing around the room, it became very apparent that our group is comprised of many diverse personalities. Musicians can be a bit temperamental but in order to make remarkable music, there needs to be a cohesive and collaborative spirit amongst those differing personalities. It’s important both to have a command of your own instrument as well as the ability to play together which produces a memorable performance.
Most instruments have supporting roles rather than constantly playing the melody; especially the percussion instruments or the trumpet, which happens to be what I play. This doesn’t diminish the significance in your role, it simply means the spotlight is not directed at you. Remember, the conductor – the one responsible for the outcome – doesn’t even make a sound during the performance.
Our next concert happens to be a “young artists” performance where junior high and high school musicians solo with the group. After rehearsing with one of the soloists, it was time for a break. However, just before being excused, our conductor, the incredibly talented Alexandra Arrieche, took a few moments to chat with the orchestra which coincidentally contributed to this article.
“Why are we here doing what we love”? she asked. “We are doing this for the younger generation. If we cannot inspire them to carry on and become better musicians that will eventually fill our seats, what is this all for”?
Ironically, I am not a big fan of inspirational quotes such as “Life is like a….(then insert a favorite analogy). However, in many ways, life IS like an orchestra. It is a community coming together to play beautiful melodies surrounded by lush harmonies. It is comprised of diverse individuals who study and practice in order to play an important part in the final result. Although there is no perfect analogy, the lives we lead consist of perfecting our individual selves while living harmoniously with our community. It is the ability to find your life’s purpose and helping others discover theirs. We all cannot be the soloist yet even the best of melodies needs a supporting harmony to really stand out.
This world can definitely use more harmony but it will never occur when we focus on the differences and segregate those who do not share our opinions and values. It begins by reaching out in kindness, creating an inviting atmosphere; one of understanding and a willingness to work together. Remember, no matter how much or how hard the conductor waves her arms, they alone will never produce the music. I look forward to your thoughts.