Know what I love, besides new Arcade Fire albums? I love this time of year. And hot chocolate, I Iove hot chocolate. And also enthusiasm, I love genuine enthusiasm. I think sometimes the gap between Noise and Music has less to do with melody and more to do with enthusiasm.

I teach two high school classes, and my students are not a quiet bunch. They talk a lot, and ask a lot of questions that are not always relevant to the topic, and chitter-chatter sometimes when I am trying to teach them something monumentally important that they need to retain for the rest of their lives (e.g. What is the meaning of Juxtaposition?).

They are a bunch of characters with a lot of enthusiasm. And though there are certainly things I want them to remember, I also feel that I am doing something positive if I can help transfer some of that shotgun style pre-existing enthusiasm into a directed enthusiasm for learning, and for a deeper appreciation of the visual arts.

There might be such a thing as latent, or dormant enthusiasm, but at some point it's gonna spill over into Noise. I can work with Enthusiastic Noise. Kind of like Tim DeLaughter did when he put together his Beach Boy Flaming Lips-influenced hippie choral outfit of almost 30 musicians, all clad in white robes and playing a melange of guitars, flutes, violins, trombones, electronic keyboards, and all other manner of instrumentation and called themselves The Polyphonic Spree. Lot of things going on, lot of potential for noise. The infectious onslaught of enthusiasm and melodic energy was just too much to be considered anything but life-affirming music of the highest order.

It's awful, just awful when someone goes to school to gain knowledge, and instead gets stripped of enthusiasm.

I don't want that to happen.

If the Polyphonic Spree can write a beautiful little ditty like Soldier Girl with twenty-seven different people tooting horns and seesawing strings that somehow metastasizes into the Greatest Song Ever, then I think the rest of the world can take a cue that it's pretty great to get excited about something. And keep the energy going. Even when it disguises itself as Noise.

Thank you, students, for being enthusiastic noisemakers. We'll turn it into music.

The Polyphonic Spree
Soldier Girl / Days Like This Keep Me Warm
The Beginning Stages of...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Love to hear from you. Thanks for your comments!