Art for art’s sake? It sure seems as though the purity of feeling gets lost when I find myself changing my motivation so as to be rewarded, rather than just enjoying the gift of music.
It’s a question that I have been asking, (and answering), ever since I performed a song for the first time on stage in front of an audience in an auditorium and felt the force of resounding applause awaken a pleasure in the very core of my being. It was a joyful experience in two parts;
- The spiritual joy of singing richly in the moment, and
- the overwhelming sense of worth that accompanies applause.
I was 6 years old and, until that moment, I had never sung before. For a couple of weeks I had rehearsed a comedy skit, imitating Jackie Gleason and Art Carny, but when I walked out on stage, I intuitively knew I should sing a song instead.
It was an awakening. After that show, my second grade teacher asked me to sing a song each morning, before class would begin, right after the pledge of allegiance and the Lords Prayer.
This was the same teacher who had accused me of doing arithmetic wrong, because I knew the answers without writing on scratch paper, and she wouldn’t display my art work during open house because it would make the other kids work look bad, (at least that’s what she told me). And now, I was acceptable because I could sing.
By about the third time I sang the school day to a start, I began to feel the difference between singing for applause, and singing for the joy of singing. I found that I could compromise the purity of the song and pander for more applause. I discovered the difference between artist and performer, and have been trying to bring the two together with varying results ever since.
For the most part, only I can tell the difference, but that’s the point; I can feel and hear the difference between the joy of creating music, and performing a song.
One way of singing feels spontaneously natural, and the other seems technically contrived. If I don’t get lost in the overwhelming power of the music, I feel I have missed the cosmic contact, even though I have given a technically ideal performance.
Then I realize what a glorious gift I have been given, and I thank God that I have the ability to indulge in such a delightful quandary.
Today’s Relatively Appropriate Song;