Monday, July 27, 2015

Music's Lifelong Impact

It is easy as a teacher or a student to become consumed with the endless practice and study of music, whether it be with our voices or instruments. When difficulties such as mastering techniques, memorization to be completed in time for the next recital, and fingers that just will not do what we hope they will absorb most of our attention, we risk losing sight of the most meaningful aspect of music: its lifelong impact.

A few years ago, I attended a concert at a local church called Song of Survival. This concert featured baroque, classical, and romantic works that were arranged and notated completely from memory by two extraordinary women named Margaret Dryburgh and Norah Chambers during their internment in a Japanese prison camp during World War II. The hope that they demonstrated during a time of despair led them to create beautiful music that can continue to encourage and impact us today.
Norah Chambers

Margaret Dryburgh

The concert that I attended was memorable and beautifully performed, and led me to look deeper into the lives of these remarkable women. I learned that both attended or graduated from the Royal Academy of Music and were considered skilled musicians. It is interesting to think that, like us, they studied music and worked hard to become skilled musicians, but never lost sight of the impact music could have, even when they were in a desolate place.

I recommend reading more of their story; it is extremely inspiring and serves as an excellent reminder of what we are striving for as we engage in the study of music.

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