The first of our guest bloggers, Dave Davidson is an retired high school music teacher, trombonist and avid community musician. This is the beginning of Dave's four part blog series.
"The Village that Feeds Me"
The Importance of Community Music, Part 1:
The Arts always have been, and always will be, an expression of who we are as a
society at that particular moment in time. Reading a Dickens novel, watching a Shakespearean play or listening to a Mozart Sonata can instantly take us back to that time and place. For a brief moment we can relive Elizabethan England or 19th century Salzburg. We can sense the joy, the sorrow, the elation or the angst that influenced the artist to express how they, and many others, felt. Call it "active history" if you will but the Arts are an expression of our times. They forever leave their mark for future generations to relive. There is a part of us, deep inside, that needs the music, the paintings and sculpture, the dance and the drama of it all to get to know who we
really are. The Arts are inherent to our every being and it can be argued that they have beenresponsible for the development and maturity of the human psyche.
So, if I was setting out to write a thesis I would probably fail in that these ideas certainly are not new. In fact their proponents are growing in numbers every day. I am a musician and I have practised my Art almost every day of my life since I was 7 years old and had my first piano lesson. However, like so many young boys, my attention span was comparable to that of a gnat and my early days were spent playing the music I liked rather than the music I was 'supposed' to be practising. Interesting how that comes full circle.
I turn 65 this year and the thought of reaching that point of my life causes one to pause and reflect upon just what I have done or accomplished during all those years. When I start to mentally record those high points of my life I realize that my entire life has been shaped and influenced by my musical experiences. It begs the question of just how this thing called music grabbed me and just wouldn't let go. It beat out baseball when I was 12; it won when deciding just what direction I wanted to take in my life when I chose to study Music rather than English Lit.; and it became my passion when I took to teaching as a career. How does this happen?
Opportunities and encouragement. I had the good fortune to have a Mother who taught me to sing many of the old Scottish songs of her youth and also to give me an opportunity she never had - music lessons. I had a public school principal that believed in the importance of Music and allowed me opportunities to sing and play that I might not normally have had. I had a wonderful Music teacher in High School that encouraged me and gave me the chance to conduct the schools Junior Band as if it were my own. Then there were the 'local' musicians, the ones that gave me the opportunity to play Jazz and music of the Big Bands and at 16 I was playing every Sat. night at the Summer Gardens in Port Dover - one of the few remaining 'old' dance halls of the 30's and 40's. What wonderful opportunities I had from a nurturing music community. Is it any wonder that I chose the path I have followed for so many years?
As I reflect upon those years I understand more and more the importance of being the
kind of musician that encourages young players and singers; that strives to find and provide opportunities for them to grow; and one that remains passionate about my Art every day and in every way. Being part of a musical community is essential to my being and I continue to strive to open more doors for young musicians to join that community and enjoy making music together.
Dave Davidson is the Music Director and Conductor of Kitchener Musical Society Band