The Intimacy of Making Music

So I was recently inspired to write about the intimate act of making music. When people make music together, they really have to listen and be present to each other in an intimate way.

I recently attended a phenomenal concert, where the musicians were improvising with each other, leading and following in a seamless display of artistry and I would have to call it respect.

No one musician was overpowering, no one was always taking the lead, no one felt unseen or unheard, they moved together in a breathtaking display of what humans are capable of when we really work together.

The tabla player and the guitarist had a few minutes where I was especially mesmerized. The tempo started fairly slowly, each musician taking time to share their unique melody and rhythms. As they played back and forth with taking the lead, they increased the tempo, gradually inviting each other to more energy, to the fun of working together to hype up the music. It was so much fun to watch, my body responded with increased arousal and excitement also. I wondered how much quicker they could play and still stay so magically together. The anticipation made me hold my breath. Each increment of speed, as it settled into the tempo, was a sigh of relief for the audience. They had made it, they were still together, no fights had broken out!

I had to laugh about this afterwards, as I made the connection between how relationships mirror this back and forth intensity. Sometimes we ramp each other up and sometimes we slow each other down. The trick is to do this in a coordinated way where everyone feels heard and seen in the relationship.

It was such a great inspiration and lesson to see this dynamic literally played out on stage. We can see that it is possible, relationships where no one person has the lead all the time, where both voices are heard, where we have true give and take, can be done!

For me this was a hopeful sign, a remembrance that we are wonderful creations, and that relationships are meant to give us this amazing feeling of togetherness that is impossible to have on our own.

I have always loved playing music, and on the rare times when I have experienced something similar to what these musicians so expertly demonstrated, I have always felt it as an ecstatic experience. The ‘high’ has lasted for hours or even days in my memory.

What made this particular concert and these musicians even more spectacular, was the fact that they were of different ethnicities and cultures. It was a world music fusion, where each unique artist brought in their own particular culture and values. This was again inspiring and gave me hope that humanity can overcome the problems and misunderstandings we see today in the world.

Where do you have the opportunity to create this kind of improvisation in your life? When you talk to the checkout person at the grocery store? When you welcome your kids home from school? When you have date night with your partner? What does it feel like to give and take the melodic lead? Do you listen and respond from your heart?

I am making the intention to try this for the next week. In order to improvise with others, we must be willing to have a voice, go with the flow, take in what the other people bring to the overall effect. So many lessons in such a simple sharing.

Want to try it too? Try improvising with someone in your life, like a great jazz musician. See if that intention changes the outcome of your interaction. Let me know how it goes!

Have fun and create pleasure,