Our summer road trip afforded me a few good opportunities for one of my favorite activities: listening during great music rehearsals while drawing and writing. Part of me is fully engaged in the music-making, wanting not to miss a single note or nuance even when it’s truly a working bash through sort of session for the musicians. I learn so much about the pieces in hand, their histories, contexts, technical challenges and all that sort of thing as well as what to expect and what might happen in performance that I always enjoy concerts more deeply after hearing them being developed for the performances. At the same time, if the work in hand is sans text or in a language so unknown to me that I can’t get wrapped up in that aspect beyond whether the ensembles’ vowels and consonants, attacks and diminuendos and cutoffs are, well, ensemble, then I can focus my language centers on writing, sometimes blog post essays and sometimes poetry.
When the text is too enthralling or at least too present in my attentions, I can still indulge in drawing. Either way, it’s not so much dividing my attention as letting one kind of artistry inspire and guide another one. One enriches the other. Especially when the music rolling around me is as rich as, say, that being prepared for performances at the Vancouver Early Music Festival in August. I only wish that the products of my sessions were always as inspired as the music undergirding their inception. But my only chance of getting any better is to keep practicing, isn’t it. And I’m lucky that I like the process more and more as I go along, and yes, the better the music is, the more I enjoy my learning curve. That’s inspiring enough.