“The song is ended, but the melody lingers on” ~Irving Berlin

7 Jun

Today I did something I never have had to do, something that I never even thought of before but turned out to be one of the most powerful things I’ve ever done.  I played at a student’s funeral…

This young man left the world way to young, just turning 20 last month.  While I don’t know the particulars of his death nor do I really want to know, what I found out today is that music and his cello probably meant more to him than I’ll ever knew.  I lost track of him after he graduated, but remember him always coming to orchestra with a smile on his face and ready to play.  While he wasn’t the one in the orchestra that could play every note flawlessly, he came every week to make music.  I’m sure there were many weeks that he didn’t practice much between rehearsals, but he kept coming.  Sometimes I would wonder why.  I often rode him hard because I knew he could do better.  Sometimes it worked and other times it didn’t.  There was something deep down that kept him coming back.

As an educator, you know that there will be very few that will go on to make a living in the music profession.  I just always hope my students have the lifelong enjoyment of music, making music with friends and always trying to do the best they can at the particular moment.

Today as I walked up to play the first movement of the Bach d minor Partita, I make eye contact with his mother and began playing.  I’ve performed a lot in my life, but today was special.  I felt while I was playing I was able to bring tears of joy and memories of happy times rather than sadness and grief via music.  When I finished playing, I smiled at his mom and walked back to my seat.

Sometimes it’s not about how many notes you play right or wrong or if you got the rhythm right…sometimes it’s something much deeper  that words just can’t explain.  This young man played the cello for a reason, he loved music, had so many friends and was loved by so many.

I was honored to be asked to play for him, his family and friends, honored to know that through music I touched his life and realized today the deeper meaning of why I teach music…Rest In Peace Young Man…

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