I've had a fun couple of days taking my kids a little deeper into the world of music, a world that I loved during high school and college- and one which I rarely get to experience as an adult. Oh, I have praise team rehearsals and take my kids to chorus and all that, but it's not the same as spending hours upon hours in the music school with the cacophony of practicing musicians surrounding me and living on a campus in which world class performance was easy enough to find.
This Friday, I took John Mark to his first master class, a piano class with Melvin Chen, who performed with our symphony tonight. Master classes are generally a couple of hours long and are taught by performing musicians, conductors, or composers. The first one I ever attended was given by Christopher Hogwood at the Kennedy Center when I was in high school. I lived in Northern Virginia during the last two years of high school, and the proximity to Washington DC gave me some unique opportunities. During my senior year, I was accepted into... well, I can't remember what is was called, but it was a special program by the Kennedy Center which offered music students the opportunity to come on Thursdays prior to the Saturday night concerts and watch conductors rehearse the National Symphony Orchestra. I got to leave school early on those days, drive to the nearest Metro station, ride into DC, get off at the Foggy Bottom stop, and then walk the rest of the way to the Kennedy Center. It was a pretty good adventure, especially considering that I had a valid excuse to miss Algebra II for 6 weeks. I suppose that area of Washington must have been pretty safe, and it never occurred to me to be scared, but I cannot imagine letting Becca do what I did- especially the couple of times when I attended an evening event! Anyhow, the two events that really stand out in my memory were the Master class with Christopher Hogwood and later, watching Leonard Bernstein rehearse the symphony. I had enough sense to know that I was watching history.
John Mark seemed sufficiently impressed with this Master Class, especially since there were young men performing who looked his age. He really enjoys piano, and I hope this experience encourages him even more. The symphony offers free tickets to students for the regular concert season, so tonight I took John Mark and Becca to see Mr. Chen perform. It was an added bonus that one of my favorite pieces, Dvorak's New World Symphony was also on the program, along with Ravel's Bolero. Afterward, I asked the kids if they enjoyed it, and they were enthusiastic about it. "Like it enough to go again?" I asked. "Yep!"
Some days I look at my big kids and I wish they could be small again... but not today. Now I have concert dates! It's a real thrill for me to see my kids enjoy music too.