Music: the universal language

We had a choral workshop for the entire junior high school today. What
that meant was that 600 7-9th grade boys filled the chapel and
received some instruction from a professional a cappella quartet from
Tokyo. Like the other teachers, I sat in the back and observed. When
the quartet started to sing, i couldn't help but get a little
misty-eyed. I could understand the performers on a very deep level not
because I knew the Japanese words that they were saying, but because
the principles of music transcend human language and culture. Harmony
works the same way in English and in USA as it does in Japanese and
Japan. For two weeks I've been struggling to find my bearings in a
country with roots of civilizations almost seperate from my own. I
hesitate to draw many conclusions as I write this blog because I know
that on the surface it may look one way, but beneath it, like an
iceberg, the culture has deeper reasons for exhibiting the behavior
that it does.

Anyway, back to the music. These singers were real pros. They sang a
few songs in English at beginning and end. In the middle, they led the
boys in singing the school songs and a few hymns (its a Christian
school). Each member of the quartet (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) did
something with voice, breathing, annunciation, etc. as the boys
giggled nervously and tried to imitate. When the quartet performed a
jingled they had recorded for a popular TV show, the boys erupted with
applause louder than what they gave for the operatic duet, Mozart
piece, or Jazz song. That's plugged into culture the boys are at the
moment. That's fine.

Well, tomorrow is my first day in front of these students as a
teacher. Stay tuned for all the details tomorrow!

1 comment:

Larry said...

I wish you all the best in your new first day as a teacher.

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