Artful Learning

Version 2In this, the centennial anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, all sorts of things that this American musical icon did are being brought out into the public consciousness. Of course, most know of Bernstein’s work as a conductor, composer and teacher, what with his numerous recordings, lectures, young peoples concerts and musical compositions. Of all that he accomplished, he once said that he was most proud of those young peoples concerts. He was so devoted to teaching, that he developed what he hoped would become a school reform method called Artful Learning. This is a method I have just begun to look at, but it intrigues me enough to want to share with you, and to begin using at least its principles to benefit my students.

Bernstein often referred to “universality” in reference to music. He believed that the expressiveness and enjoyment of music was universal, but he also understood that teaching was necessary in order to enable people to fully enjoy and fully appreciate the music he so loved to conduct, talk about, and perform on the piano. Out of this belief system came Artful Learning. In a nutshell, the method is to begin with a concept; not a musical concept but a universal one (there’s that word again). For example, let’s take the concept of enculturation–the familiarizing of a population of people with cultural norms–theirs or another. Let’s propose an essential question regarding our concept of enculturation. How does enculturation make life more meaningful? That question will guide our entire instructional unit.

Now that we have a concept and an essential question, we need a masterwork that is relevant to them both and that will serve as the basis for student inquiry. Let’s select “The One And Only Cereal” from A Quiet Place by Leonard Bernstein. The masterwork doesn’t have to be a Bernstein work, nor does it have to be a musical work, but in our example we will use music. The students, with the essential question in mind, listen to the masterwork, and then respond to it. In this masterwork, there are at least three cultures represented–jazz with its prominently African American roots, Western European 19th century art music, with its prominently Anglo and European roots,  and serial music, with its prominently academic roots. Most listeners will not only hear the different cultures represented, but will be confused by some while easily taking in others. This is because listeners will have been enculturated in one or two but not in the others. The students can experience the differences in listening to music that makes sense compared to music that does not make sense due to either being enculturated into that musical culture or not. The students experience the masterwork in a multi sensory way, through not only listening to the music, but moving (or trying to move) to the music,  through drawing, interacting physically with objects, like tossing a scarf gracefully or wringing a towel aggressively, through making facial expressions to any number of other visual, auditory, or kinesthetic responses they or the teacher might propose. All of this is the first phase in the Artful Learning Sequence, and that stage is called Experience.

Throughout the experience stage, the students will collect observations and questions from their experience of the masterwork. These observations and questions will be the basis for the next phase, which is inquire. The essential question focuses the students inquiry. Students research the essential question in light of their experience of the masterwork,  and engage in hands-on learning tasks to test, probe, demonstrate and explain the concept, which you will recall presently is enculturation. Students research the concept not only from a musical standpoint, but also using the interdisciplinary content to investigate the subject matter even more deeply. This is key to the method. It is designed to be interdisciplinary. One of Bernstein’s favorite mantras was that  “the best way to know a thing is in the context of another discipline.” What was it like to arrive in aBernstein_Harvard new country with no experience with that country’s culture, practices, language, or just general way of doing things? Students can then connect being a new immigrant in unfamiliar surroundings with being a new music listener experiencing unfamiliar musical surroundings. It takes time to learn your way around. What are some things a person new to our country would want to know right away to feel more comfortable and at home? What are some things you’d like to know to make you feel more comfortable with serial music, or jazz, or classical music? What musical idiom are you most familiar with and how would you help someone who had never heard your music before come to understand it and enjoy it? You see how the inquiry builds momentum as it goes along?

The third phase is create. Students use their learning and creative ideas to create an original work that manifests their understanding of the concept, which in our example is enculturation. This could be a play, ballet, song, poem, or whatever students and teacher can come up with. Students consider several possible mediums for their project to determine  how best to represent the academic content from their unit of study in an original artistic work. They first construct a rough draft of the work,  then continue to evaluate and revise their it until they determine that it is ready for presentation.

Once the original artistic work is ready for presentation, students are ready for the fourth and final phase, reflect. Students consider the process they have worked through metacognitively, asking themselves how they learned, and cognitively, asking themselves what they learned. They document these reflections with detailed narratives. Students discover connections consider practical applications of their new knowledge. All of this strengthens students as more self-directed as learners.

Much of what I have described here is not new to many music educators. We routinely teach about repertoire, creating cultural and purpose contexts for the musical works we teach, and we often bring ideas and concepts from other disciplines into our music lessons. Social studies (historical context), science (the science of sound), math (ratios of sound durations and beat groups) and Language Arts (dramatic form) all have been integrated into our music teaching for quite some time. What makes this method different is that it places artistic works front and center. It showcases not only the artistic excellence with which they were born, but of the universality of harmony, emotions, collaboration (of sounds in music and of performers in presenting it). It also makes the arts desirable and accessible to teacher other than of the arts; in fact, Artful Learning is intended to be a school-wide practice wherein teachers of all subjects use the arts to teach their discipline in this arts-centered interdisciplinary approach. I will be using this method initially to teach a unit on Latin American Music this coming school year. I will be writing periodically on my progress.

Teaching Musical Phrases

Version 2From a perceptual perspective, phrase may be the most important musical element that a music educator teaches. While pitch and rhythm are perhaps the most foundational, and while there can be no phrases without pitch and rhythm, people perceive and understand music aurally in groups of sounds, not from individual notes. Even in instances where a single note is sustained, it is the expectation set up by the delay of another note that gives that single note its meaning and expressiveness. Leonard Bernstein, in his Young People’s Concert titled “What Does Music Mean?” said, “all music is a combination of sounds… put together according to a plan. [The composer’s ] plan is to put the sounds together with rhythms and different instruments or voices or whatever in such a way that what finally comes out is exciting, or fun, or touching, or interesting, or all of those together.” Music is a combination of sounds, not a series of individual, unrelated sounds. To illustrate this, compare the opening measure of Liszt’s B minor piano sonata to the opening measure of Beethoven’s 5th symphony. Liszt’s sonata begins with a single note–the tonic B, followed by silence. It’s a haunting beginning, because we expect a motif or at least one or two notes to immediately follow and give us a start at a melody. But no, all we get is one note, silence, and then the same one note again followed by more silence. While it would be difficult to argue that these two Bs are not music, because they do, after all, begin a piano sonata which is unquestionably music, left with only a single note, we, the listener, are at a loss as to what to do with those two isolated tones. They as yet have no musical meaning, because they have no musical context; no other notes with which we can perceive relationships.

The opening of Beethoven’s 5th symphony, on the other hand, is packed with musical meaning and is probably the most recognizable symphonic motif ever composed. Here we are given 4 notes. This is not enough to make a phrase, but it is enough to elicit a response from us. We can remember those four notes, and recognize them if we hear them again, and most importantly, we can recognize them in the many transformations of that motif that Beethoven will present to us throughout his symphony. On the other hand, we don’t take notice every time Liszt uses a “b” in his sonata. We do, however, recognize the opening use of the b’s when they return, because by then there is a rhythm and a pulse attached to them, making them a motif of 2 notes instead of an occurrence of 1 note twice.

Comparison to language can be helpful. A single letter, like a single note, rarely has any meaning. Even the letter “a” by itself, though a word, has no meaning, because we don’t know what the object is. It could be a day, or a note, or a symphony, or a stomach ache. If all we have is “a” there really isn’t any understanding of what is being talked or written about. But once that letter “a” is combined with other letters, either as part of a word or followed by a subject, then and only then does the letter “a” have linguistic meaning. But even if we get to the word “ready” which contains an a, or the phrase “a stomach ache,” we still don’t have all the understanding we need, but we do have a phrase. A phrase is a part of a sentence, and it gives us some of the entire thought, but needs another phrase go along with it to complete the thought. After Beethoven gave us those first four notes, he gave us the same motif transposed down the interval of a second. Though this still isn’t a phrase, it does give us more information, though it remains delightfully ambiguous.  It’s more of a teaser. We don’t know yet if we are in C minor or Eb major, but we have come to a pause and wait for more. Over the next four measures,  get a phrase and with it the certainty that we are in C minor.

 

I teach my students that there is a progression from motif, to phrase, to theme. A phrase must have more than a single musical idea, and must be a uniform length throughout the work or movement, excepting for the occasional elision. At first blush, it appears that Beethoven is writing 2-measure phrases, with each dotted quarter note being the end of a phrase. But after the first 2 measures, the next phrase continues on for 4 measures before there is such a pause, making the length of that phrase unmistakably 4 measures. The symmetry with which classical composers wrote, even an innovative ones like Beethoven,  demands that a one phrase be balanced by a second phrase of the same length. This balanced phrase structure is part of a hierarchy, with phrases nested into themes, nested into theme groups, nested into sections, nested into an entire movement. So an essential characteristic of musical phrases is that within a single work, they are consistently the same length.

This is equally true of popular music, though on a smaller scale. You can walk your students through most any song, beginning with the first note, going forward until a motif is identified, often through rhythmic parallelism, and then expanding outward to a phrase which is easily found at the first comma in the lyrics, and then continuing forward for the same number of measures to the end of subsequent phrases, which will coincide with either a comma, semi colon,  or a period in the lyrics. Stringing several phrases that all end with unresolved dissonance or just avoid the tonic chord has become a popular technique that builds tension, often leading up to a climactic release at the chorus. Katy Perry’s “Chained to the Rhythm is a good example of this. I like to use the lyrics to reinforce my point, but to initially present the song by just playing the melody on the piano to show them the purely musical phrase structure. Once they realize that, the lyrics support the musical analysis.  I also use the text to point out the difference between the end of a phrase, which typically ends on the subdominant or dominant chord, and the end of a “sentence” of music, which typically ends on the tonic chord. This affords the opportunity to bring tonality and cadences into the teaching of phrases. The phrase boundary a listener perceives is marked by cadences, as well as a rhythmic organization that supplies either a pause (rest) or a relatively long duration which momentarily suspends the rhythmic motion.

There is also the expressive aspect of phrases. Music is expressive and interesting in large part because it has patterns of tension and relaxation. One phrase will build tension, while another will bring real ease and relaxation. These patterns  are made both within phrases and among phrases. For example, the well-known “Morning Mood” melody found in Peer Gynt by Edvard Grieg builds tension within the first phrase, but builds greater tension from the beginning of the first phrase to the end of the second phrase. When these inter-phrase and intra-phrase buildups and releases of tension are tracked by the listener, the music becomes expressive in the way composers intended. The structure of musical phrases makes possible the perception of musical expression, and so the expressive properties of musical phrases must be taught along with the structural ones.  Listen to the music I have discussed here and notice both the structures and expressions of each phrase.

What Do Music Notes Mean?

2011 Symposium2

I searched the title of this post today, and the results were any number of explanations of how to read music; what the note names were, the different kinds of notes, the treble and bass clefs, and so forth. But is this really what those notes on a page mean? Not at all. As you read these words on your phone or computer, what do the letters mean? Would you say that in the word “ice cream,” the individual letters mean anything? Of course not. The letters mean nothing unless they are in a string with other letters so that the string of letters spells a word. It is the word that has meaning, not the letters from which the word is formed. It is the same with music Each note has a sound of its own, just as letters have sounds of their own, but an isolated note means nothing. It must be part of a group of notes which one can understand as expressing some human quality that the creator of that group of notes intended to express. Leonard Bernstein, in his Young People’s Concert “What Does Music Mean,” said  “if I play a note, one note all alone means nothing. It’s just a plain old F sharp or a B flat.

If a person knows that a particular note on a musical staff is g, or a, b-flat, or whatever, then good for him or her, but that knowledge alone, or even in combination with hearing or performing that one note, won’t result in an expressive musical experience. It will result in a pitched sound being heard. Music must be a musical creator’s  expression of something. The creator can be a composer, improvisor, or sage passing along an oral tradition in song. One note all by itself cannot possibly be so expressive. People innately understand music by grouping perceived sounds into rhythmic or melodic groups often called rhythms, measures, motifs, phrases, themes, and so forth. Whether it is a West African drum pattern, an Indian raga, or a marching band drum cadence, music makes sense to us when we are able to aurally organize it into groups. Music that purposefullyBernstein impedes or blocks a listener’s ability to do so is perceived as confusing or unintelligible. Listeners find it difficult to determine what such music means, because they do not have a familiar way of responding to it emotionally or kinesthetically.

There is, however, a sense in which an individual note, if it is one among other notes,  can have meaning. In Western tonal music, individual tones can have meaning according to a harmonic function. We have names for these individual notes which give us a clue as to what their function is. These names include leading tone, tonic, supertonic, dominant, subdominant, mediant, and submediant. The leading tone has meaning in that it draws us to the tonic a semi tone above. It compels us to anticipate the arrival of the tonic, and in so doing creates tension and forward motion in the music. But without other notes to establish it as the leading tone, it is powerless to do any of this. So even an individual note relies on relationships to other notes to give it meaning. So what music notes mean has nothing to do with note names or where a note happens to be placed on a musical staff; it has nothing to do with what a note is named, it has to do with what a note does. There are leading tones, dominant tones, tonic tones. There are blue notes, altered notes, dissonant notes and accented notes. These characteristics are closer to the mark; they describe what a note can mean. An altered note is one that becomes a leading tone, or dominant tone within a tonality where this ordinarily is not the case. Altered notes introduce tension because they have strong tendencies to move us toward another note, and because they are often dissonant in the current tonality. The name of a note–b-flat or f-sharp–is merely a convenience; it tells a musician which pitch ought to be played or sung. The names themselves have no meaning, only the sounds one produces by reading a particular pitch in written music.

snare drumWhat of notes that have no pitch? Do notes that are for non-pitched instruments such as a snare drum or high hat have any meaning? Yes they do. Just as pitched notes have tonal meaning, non-pitched notes have metrical meaning. Meter the ordering of beats into patterns of strong and weak beats. Like pitches, these different strengths of beats have names, like crisis and anacrusis. The note at the beginning of one of these patterns is the strongest, and the note at the end of one of these patterns is the weakest. This kind of note meaning gives a waltz its characteristic lilt, and a march its orders to step LEFT right, LEFT right. Like pitches, non-pitched notes have no meaning apart form relationships with other notes. One note cannot be perceived as strong unless it is surrounded by other notes that are less so. Conversely, one note cannot be perceived as weak unless it is preceded or followed by one that is strong. Syncopated notes, relatively long notes or loud notes, accented notes all have meaning because of the relative importance duration and articulation assign. As with pitches, rhythms have names. These names are called rhythms syllables, and include Curwin, Eastman, and Gordon rhythm syllables. These syllables, like pitch names, help identify durations and in some cases also rhythmic function, but they are not the meaning of the rhythms. The meaning, again, is in how the notes sound in relation to other notes, and in how groups of notes sound. Bernstein summed all of this up well when he said, “the meaning of music is in the music, in its melodies, and in the rhythms, and the harmonies.”

How Is Music Like Poetry?

2011 Symposium2

We all know that music is comprised of sound; however, many have argued that all sound is not music. Stravinsky advanced this view convincingly when he explained that when we simply hear the rustle of leaves or the sound of a brook, we are not hearing music nor are we utilizing musical ability to hear or even enjoy these sounds of nature. These sounds are “promises of music; it take a human being to keep them: a human being who is sensitive to natures many voices, of course, but who in addition feels the need of putting them in order and who is gifted for that task with a very special aptitude. In his hands all that I have considered as not being music will become music. From this I conclude that tonal elements become music only by virtue of their being organized, and that such organization presupposes a conscious human act.”

How do humans organize sound so that it becomes music? Stravinsky specifically mentions tonality, and that is one way in which we organize sound into music. Tonality is a culturally learned concept. Western cultures organize tones into major and minor tonalities, and less often into others such as Dorian or Mixolydian. Eastern cultures organize music into very different tonalities, but tonalities nonetheless. While Stravinsky’s observation of music as a human constructed entity, restricting ourselves to tonality will be of little help in a discussion of music and poetry, because poetry, as spoken language, has no tonality, at least in Western culture.

Igor_Stravinsky_LOC_32392u

Igor Stravinsky

There are other ways that humans organize music. The two most significant ones are rhythm, meter, and phrases. These are elements that are critical to both music and poetry. In both disciplines, sounds are made that are of variable durations that are perceived in patterns. Whether we are performing a music, or reading aloud poetry, the notes or words respectively are heard in patterns of durations that we naturally form into groups of sounds that make sense to us, and make what would otherwise be a barrage of noise into intelligible and enjoyable art.

These rhythmic patterns in music, combined with tonal elements, result in musical phrases that end with a pause that marks the end of the phrase and signal the immanent beginning of the next phrase. An example of this is the famous “Ode to Joy” theme from Beethoven’s ninth symphony. The antecedent phrase ends with the longest duration heard thus far on a tone from the dominant chord, and the consequent phrase ends on a duration of equal length but on a tone from the tonic chord which in this case is also the tonic tone.  That tonic note of finality punctuates the phrase with the musical equivalent of a period, whereas the end of the antecedent phrase on the dominant punctuates the phrase with the musical equivalent of a comma. Both phrases are of equal length and are comprised of identical rhythms. The structure provides a high degree of predictability that brings stability to our perception of the music. The effect is the same as a rhyme scheme in poetry. Rhythm, meter, and the rhyming pattern also bring predictability, at least that a rhyming word is coming, and of when the rhyme will occur within the established meter and rhyme scheme. In both music and poetry, when the predicted tone or rhyme, respectively, does not occur, tension is built; a tension that remains until the expectation is met.

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Leonard Bernstein lecturing at Harvard

There is an aspect of the similarity between music and poetry that goes beyond structure. I refer to the expressiveness humans achieve with both art forms. Leonard Bernstein discussed this extensively in his Norton Lecture, “The Unanswered Question” at Harvard University. Music can never have the literalness that language does, because no music has literal meaning. Musical meaning is always more abstract, and is come to through the interaction with not only the organizing mind, but the creative imagination. Prose, on the other hand, falls far short of such expressive abstraction, but not poetry. Poetry, like music, thrives on abstraction, illusion, and even at times whimsy. Poetry utilizes language in a way that replaces relative precision with literary suggestion that appeals to the human imagination.

If you are interested in reading more on this subject, I suggest Poetics of Music in the Form of Six Lessons by Igor Stravinsky, and The Unanswered Question by Leonard Bernstein. Both were lectures later published that each gave when they were honored with the Charles Eliot Norton chair at Harvard University.

My Lifelong Love of Music: I Wonder Where It Started

2011 Symposium2

Amid the frequent pronouncements of doom over classical music, and the unenthusiastic attitude of many of my general music students toward it, I sometimes ask myself what drew me to classical music. I never became a great musician, yet my love for music has always been great. That’s important because when a child is raised in a music rich environment, he can become a life-long music lover, even if he never plays at Boston’s Symphony Hall, or New York’s Carnegie all or….(you fill in your prestigious concert hall). Here’s how I became the music lover and the musician/teacher I am today.

My parents told me that I enjoyed music from a very early age, but many children do. My earliest memories are discovering the two classical recordings had in their record collection, and delighting in playing them on their phonograph. At some point, I also discovered Leonard Bernstein’s Young Peoples Concerts on television. The whole family waited for them to end before we could have dinner on those precious afternoons when they were broadcast. I soon began imagining that I was the conductor of a symphony orchestra.

At that time, the Hartford (CT) Symphony Orchestra periodically broadcast a concert

Arthur Winograd Conducting the Hartford Symphony Orchestra

Arthur Winograd Conducting the Hartford Symphony Orchestra

on television. The broadcast had a theme song, it was “Getting To Know You” from the musical “The King and I.” I soon began starting my classical music listening sessions by playing “Getting To Know You,” and then switching over to one of the classical records. I would stand in front of the phonograph conducting the music, dreaming of becoming the next Leonard Bernstein or Arthur Winograd (former cellist of the Julliard Quartet, and then conductor of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.)

As I grew into my teens, I got to go to Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Symphony, to see that great orchestra play. My mother took me, and we had memorable days together enjoying the music and the cool Massachusetts Berkshire air that is so refreshing and welcome compared to the hotter more humid air we so often left behind in Connecticut. When I got my driver’s license, I subscribed to the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and drove myself to Symphony Hall in Springfield to hear orchestra concerts. It never occurred to me to object to going alone. I just couldn’t wait until the next concert.
By this time, my clarinet playing (I had started when I was ten years old) had progressed so that I was active in regional festivals, musical theater pits, and the school concert and jazz bands. The more I played, the more exciting life got. I began conducting while still in high school, and was able to conduct a composition I wrote for band. A classmate in music theory class got me interested in composing, and though I never formally studied music composition, I have dappled in it ever since, having several works performed over the years.

I entered college as a music education major so that I would be assured of making a living in music. There were frequent delights in a music conservatory–chamber music ensembles, wind ensembles, an opera orchestra, solo playing with piano–these were more varied and more fun than ever. Four years at a music conservatory were filled with music, though a few performances still stand out in my memory. Playing clarinet and bass clarinet for Pierrot Lunaire, playing on WGBH radio’s “Morning Pro Musica” with Robert J. Lurtsema and singing in a performance of Walton’s “Belshazzar’s Feast” were among the standouts.

And then there was a concert I attended given by the Hartford Symphony. Philip

Philipe Entremont

Philipe Entremont

Entremont played the Beethoven Fourth Piano Concerto. I was fascinated. How could a piano concerto start with just the piano? How could the work begin without the orchestra playing the exposition? Yet there it was, only the pianist playing those four repeated chords, and then another four, and then the end of the first phrase. How curious that so much expression could be found in repeated chords, yet it was expressive. By the time the orchestra came in I was both annoyed and relieved. Annoyed that the spell had been broken, and relieved that Beethoven hadn’t left the orchestra out of the first movement! With all the classical music I had heard, I still had the thrill and excitement of being in wonder. That was it. The old music always sounded fresh and was capable of inspiring my inner being.

Harold Wright

Harold Wright

At some point, it was no longer works that were new to me that brought out that wonder, but new interpretations of familiar ones. Lorin Maazel conducting Tchaikovsky’s Fifth symphony with the bell tones of the brass brought to the fore. Copland’s Clarinet Concerto played as I never knew a clarinet could be played, sublime, by Harold Wright. Leonard Bernstein Conducting Tchaikovsky’s Fifth and a few years later, Brahms first symphony. I met Mr. Bernstein after that concert, and it is to this day among the most precious two minutes of my life.

The delights, both remembered and ongoing, are seemingly endless. They started somewhere in my childhood, and snowballed into a life-long delight. How it all started, I am still not sure, but I do know this: I have always surrounded myself and been surrounded by music. I found pleasure and fulfillment in it that others did not. For the past 30 years it has been my privilege to teach young people music, and for some, to move other life-long love affairs with music along. Whether it is the turning of a phrase in the ear, or a lovely body in motion to the music, or the images of a video helping my imagination take flight along with the music, it is a joy that for me has never been matched. Musicians, fill the lives of others with your music, your art. It is an ennobling and necessary part of human life.

By the way, the two recordings were Gaite Parisienne by Offenbach, performed by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, and Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto.

Life-changing Memories

There are a handful of orchestral concerts I attended years ago that I still remember, while there are many more I don’t recall in the least. Today, I’m interested in why this is. Why is it that I remember some performances and not others? When I thought about it, I realized that in each case, there was a specialness to what was going on in the concert, to the person I attended the concert with, or to the reason I was at that particular concert. In other words, what made each of these concert memorable was the context in which they were given and in which I attended.

Sometimes in the winter of 1974, I attended a performance of Verdi’s Requium. The performance was in a huge cathedral with an echo I seem to remember timing at 7-11 seconds. The choir was massively big. It was a field trip taken with my high school music appreciation class, and it was the first time I had heard a choir that large. To this day, the Verdi Requiem is one of my favorite pieces. Later that same year, in the spring, I attended my first opera with the same class. It was Puccini’s La Boheme, and the effect on me was much the same. I was enthralled with the music, captivated by the plot, and was absolutely carried away when the tenor sang Che gelida maninia. To this day, La Boheme is, you guessed it, my favorite opera. In both of these cases, with the Requiem and with La Boheme, there was an exciting newness, and a powerful emotional surge that burned the whole package—music, staging, story, and how it all made me feel—into my memory. As a music educator, I cannot forget the impact that a music teacher who took his students to these concerts had on me, and the ways in which it brought my love for music to full bloom.

Sometimes, when I take my students to concerts, I am sure that a similar awakening will occur in at least some of them. It is not always readily apparent, Many kids, when asked after the performance how they liked it, will nonchalantly reply that it was “good,” or “okay.” Then, maybe a year or two later, when they realize I’m taking another class to a concert, they will light up and excitedly tell me how much they liked going to a concert, and many will ask if they can go again. These kinds of encounters with the arts are deep-seated, life-changing, permanent memories. The emotions the arts draw out of us, at those moments when they are especially strong, change us.

I know my memories won’t be the same as yours, but here are just a few more of mine; a sort of greatest hits from my musical memory.

Harold Wright playing Aaron Copland’s Clarinet Concerto

Richard Stoltzman playing Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in Carnegie Hall with the Tokyo String Quartet

Leonard Bernstein conducting Tchaikovsky’s fifth symphony at Tanglewood

Pavarotti giving a recital in Hartford, Connecticut, 1977