Last night we attended A's holiday school concert and it was a lot of fun. They did a great job and at times it's hard to keep in mind that they're only kids. They play so well together and while I realize I'm a biased parent here, I really thought they were tight and demonstrated a mature awareness about the technical aspects of the music. I was given this impression by how they described the pieces in the introductions as well how they came to appreciate the process of musical discovery. It had nothing to do with any knowledge or proficiency in music, of which I have none.
I'm no musician (I just play one on TV), but the pieces struck me as fairly esoteric, i.e., I had never heard of them, and I wonder if the teacher chose them to challenge the kids and broaden their horizons. Bear in mind that this was a Christmas program and nobody was playing jingle bells. In fact, I would say that over half the pieces were not Christmas songs, which was different for a holiday show.
Either way, they did a great job. I don't think kids at that age fully appreciate how cool it is to play a musical instrument and be a part of a band. At their age it's just cooler to be a jock or to be beautiful and popular. I think some high school (and life) experiences will never change, but now that I'm older and a bit wiser (just a tiny bit), I think you're better off developing a love for an instrument and being in the band than playing sports. Most guys will think I'm crazy for saying this, or that I'm a big dork (this is sort of true), but that's just how I see it.
I love sports and it's a load of fun, and there are great life lessons to be learned from sports, but people are so fanatical these days. We've really lost perspective and sports have come to consume our lives. I know this because I'm in the thick of this fanaticism with hockey, though I've recently gained a lot of perspective. I'm not sure what people's expectations are for their kids in sports, but I get a sense that they're not completely aligned with reality. I know the argument goes that hard work and sacrifice in sports will help a kid in life, but you can learn those things in just about anything you do. And, having played sports my entire life, I can honestly say that the hyper-macho jock environment is not always a healthy one... unless of course you want to run for president.
So with that in mind, I think it would be best if we all lightened up about sports and instead encouraged our kids to join the band. It's like that line from a song by John Mellenkamp, "Forget about all that macho shit and learn how to play guitar."
Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to USC Upstate for the pic.