Reconnecting with our childhood instincts

In my soul I am still that small child who did not care about anything else but the beautiful colours of a rainbow

Papiha Gosh

This has always been one of my favourite quotes. I love the way it refers to the innocence of childhood, when we just experienced life with true wonder and everything was new and fascinating.

Recently, this quote got me thinking about how it could apply to music making.

In his book, ‘The Perfect Wrong Note’, William Westney talks about the three year old child who, on hearing music, has a natural inclination to move to the music and jump around to it. Just like the child who is captivated by the beauty of the rainbow, the dancing child is fully immersing themselves in the music.

They aren’t thinking, but rather experiencing, living in the moment, and following their natural creative instincts.

Westney goes on to say that in the music lesson years later, the “game often turns out to be radically different. Although the natural musical responses of the jumping toddler were visceral, spontaneous, and whole-body, now she must sit and think”.

There seems to be so much to think about and many things that could go wrong, such as notes, fingers and counting, that when things do go right, she feels “more relief than excitement”.

That small child who once looked at the rainbow with such fascination, has grown up and things have become far more complicated. It is no longer a case of enjoying the music itself, but now there are a long list of things to think about!

Are there any moments where you just sit and play and immerse yourself fully in the music like that young child? Where you forget about the technicalities or difficulties in the music and just enjoy it?

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