One of the best parts of living in Utah is our experience with four distinct seasons. Yeah, maybe the winter goes on longer than I’d like and the spring can sometimes be very short. But the seasons we have remind us of the cyclical nature of life.
This year, my eighth grader is moving on from middle school, and my baby is graduating from Kindermusik. I was teaching Kindermusik when I was pregnant with her, and but for a short period of time when she was a baby, she has been enrolled for her entire life. (Her entire life. I say that like she’s ancient. Hah!) It is the end of an era for me, and with each tradition (the symphony, the upcoming Family Jam), I am reminded of the passing of time.
We often talk about autumn as being a season of death, heralding a long period of sleep; conversely, spring is a period of rebirth and renewal. But with all the graduations happening around us during this month, spring is also a season of completion and departure. We launch our kids into the next phases of their lives in May, and the natural phase of growth and possibility serves as our backdrop.
So. Many. Emotions.
How, as humans, do we feel and express those feelings? I’ve been overwhelmed lately as I observe the power of the arts to reach these very intense parts of being a human.
Want sadness? Try Barber’s Adagio for Strings. (You may know this from the movie Platoon or the many other places in pop culture it appears.)
How about joy? Try Copland’s Hoe-Down.
I’m also a sucker for Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man when it comes to expressing expectation and hope.
Probably has to do with how heavily John Williams borrowed from it to write the theme to Superman, one of the great movies of my youth.
This principle goes beyond music. Edward Munch managed to recreate just exactly how I feel when the kids have tantrums and I’m trying to get dinner on the table, while the music is blaring and the phone rings.
Walking up the steps to the Lincoln Memorial and seeing the large statue of this important president evokes awe. There is a reason that Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his famous speech here.
As parents and caregivers, we can tell our kids how to think and feel, what to do or say. But I’m learning that giving them the tools to express their own thoughts, fears, values and emotions can be far more powerful. Though I am continually challenged by the tasks I face as a parent, I will forever be grateful for the role that art has played in this journey. Kindermusik has truly been a great beginning that has never ended for us.