Crooked Stitches and Perfect Pitches
I’ve never been the type of person to listen to classical music and be able to say much more than “Oh, that sounds pretty.” I don’t know any composers besides those pop culture has taught me, and I would never be able to listen to their music and tell you the titles of the songs.
Now that I’m writing it, it sounds pretty bad.
Before this year, I hadn’t been to a symphony concert. As an English teacher, the closest I’ve been would be the orchestra concerts my students sometime guilt me into attending.
Last October, I won a pair of season tickets in the raffle at Oktoberfest and saw it as a sign. I would go to every concert, listen to beautiful music, and maybe learn something.
There was one problem: I’m kind of a wiggly person. I’m a fiddler. My hands need to be doing something if my body is going to be still for a couple of hours. I was worried that I would go to the concerts and zone out without something to keep busy with. In truth, I was worried that I would be bored.
My problem solved itself, though. The person I was going to take to the first concert had to cancel at the last minute. I decided to go by myself, determined to have a good time. On my way out the door, I saw the scarf I had been crocheting that was taking me forever to finish. I’m kind of terrible at it, but I like to do it anyway. I always mean to make time to crochet, but let’s be real– as a high school teacher, crochet time doesn’t just fall into my lap.
But then I realized that, in fact, crochet time did just fall into my lap!
I was nervous at first; it doesn’t seem very classy or respectful to crochet at a concert. My nerves were calmed when the woman next to me introduced herself as the wife of one of the musicians and said she loved my idea. The lights dimmed, the music started, and I began to crochet.
My hands and the part of my brain that usually wanders were engaged with my crocheting, so the rest of my mind was free to listen to the beautiful music. Letting my hands work quietly allowed me to sink into the music in a way I never have before.
Soon into the concert, calmness swept over me. Here I was in a comfy seat, in a softly lit room, by myself but not alone, listening to a gorgeous symphony and working with yarn. I never would have guessed that I needed this, but I so clearly did.
I look forward to every concert now because of that special kind of peace I felt. My wish is for more people who don’t think that they are “symphony people” to go to a concert and find the way it works for them. I still can’t talk intelligently about classical music. Though I read the programs, I quickly forget every composer’s name and every song’s title. But that’s not what it’s about, is it? It’s about how I feel in that moment listening to a song beautifully played, while I work on the next crooked row of my scarf.