Once a month on The second Wednesday of the month at 6PM, MCMC transforms into a music salon. Students and teachers alike share the music they have worked and polished for other students and teachers and supporters.
Performing is a practice in itself and being in an audience is another practice. When performing, new discoveries about the music we are performing are always unveiled. Spots that are rough but overlooked during practice suddenly are uncovered. Sometimes there is a moment that just glitters and makes us feel the stars or some higher power is with us for a moment. When assuming the posture of an audience member, we learn about how to be engaged with the performer’s practice, how to let ourselves just be with another person’s music making, we notice how others bow or don’t bow and how we might like to emulate or avoid certain behaviors, we learn how to support each other as we triumph, just do it, or even completely forget how to play. We figure out where we want our parents and friends to sit when we perform — some of us love to have these supporters in the front row, while others of us prefer our silent critics somewhere else, perhaps in the parlor, but anywhere but where we can see them. We learn about the absolutely silent bubbles that sometimes occur after the last note is played and we yearn to learn how to make them.
At the salon, performers include three year olds who have just learned Twinkle, trios of students who have been working on a jazz tune together for the past six weeks, students who keep trying to play that song they know and play so well at home, but keep fudging when they perform, teachers who need to perform a song to get it out there before they perform it in some vaulted hall or put it on shelf to teach someday, and high school seniors ready to show off the concerto they have mastered. Audience member include folks off the street interested in what’s happening in the Community House, siblings, babies that don’t know to be quiet yet, parents, spouses, friends, and grandparents, and folks that are always up for a free concert. We are a community of musicians and our supporters practicing performing and practicing the art of supporting our performers and fellow musicians.
Sometimes I think of the Salon as one step up from a living room performance, but it is more than that. We performing for other musicians, our peers and with our supporters who know music matters and know each performance is simply a practice. We are building a community to enjoy the practice of making and receiving music.
Just like happiness is devoid without sadness, great performances usually can’t happen without also practicing some total bomb performances.