At the end of a presentation I offered someone commented on the fact I managed to include music in just about all my sessions. I was happy because I think (I think) it was a compliment – until I realised, a few seconds later, that for some people always being subjected to music might be as irritating to them as it was pleasing to my interlocutor! Even now (if you are reading this) you may be groaning: not music again. But/and the thing is I DO try and get music into almost everything because, well I like music in everything! (I even managed to persuade Philip Prowse to let me contribute 3 music-themed readers to his Cambridge Readers series).
I was reminded of all this today when they played the Gil Shaham recording of the violin concerto by Korngold on the radio. And (as always when I hear it) I was taken back to an experience I had of genuine spiritual ecstasy (or so it seemed at the time). I was walking from the terminal building at Bonaire aiport, back over the hot tarmac to where the clapped out (but refuelled) KLM DC10 was waiting to take us on to Lima. Playing on my mini-disc player (remember them?) and invading the headphones, was the Gil Shahan recording I heard again this morning. It was a completely incongruous moment, but there was that feeling of sublime divinity (you know what I mean, though it may not be music that does it for you) which – even though it was some years ago – I have never forgotten.
(The music? Well Erich Korngold was a Viennese wunderkind who ended up writing amazing film scores for great films of the thirties and forties like The Sea Hawk – you can see the original trailer of the film – with Korngold’s music – here). His violin concerto uses extracts from these Hollywood scores to fashion a dreamy (soupy?) score and here is Hilary Hahn performing the 1st movement (the music that got to me on that day).
All of this leads me to wonder about he following questions:
1 Do you love, like, feel indifferent to or hate this music?
2 Do you love, like, feel indifferent to or hate music in general? Do you/can you work to it or do you need silence?
3 When/if you teach do you play music in the classroom? Why? Why not?
4 What do you think of this scenario: a teacher in an English lesson organises students into groups and then puts on some background music while they work. When he or she judges the activity is over, the music is switched off, whatever is playing?
5 What is your best music-based activity ever?
Small questions. Big answers?