My blog was silent all last week. I wear three main hats… parent, writer, and music teacher… and last week I wore my parent hat and my teacher hat pretty much exclusively. It happens that way sometimes.
But it’s interesting how sometimes those three hats “intersect” in unexpected ways.
Last week was the annual KY Music Educators Conference, and in conjunction with that, several ensembles of All-State musicians come together to practice and present performances. One of my high school students was selected for the Sr. High All-State Chorus, and my oldest son was selected for the Jr. High All-State Chorus. So, in addition to attending the teachers’ conference, I was also the parent and teacher of an all-state singer. (Pausing here for proud moment!)
At my son’s Jr. High All-State concert, the group of 200+ singers performed the world premier of “Listen to My Voice”, by Amir Zaheri. Mr. Zaheri was the pianist accompanying the choir (as he’d been the year before), and this piece of music had been commissioned by the KY Music Educators Association especially for the Jr. High All-State Choir that my son was a member of.
It was at my son’s concert where my three “hats” intersected. There I was, sitting in the Kentucky Center for the Arts, enjoying the marvelous performance of my son’s All-State Choir, when they began “Listen to My Voice”. The piano introduction was beautiful… sweetly haunting. And then came the lyrics. I won’t print them here word-for-word, because I’d never want to infringe on Mr. Zaheri’s copyright, but I can paraphrase the message of the song. “Love me… accept me… value me… don’t you know that’s what I need from you?” I was moved to tears.
As a parent of a teenager, I know that’s what he most wants from the people in his life, whether it be family, friends, or teachers. As a teacher, I know that despite the fact that teens act otherwise, they really DO want to please you and have your approval, and not having it affects them deeply. And as a YA writer, it’s something I strive to portray in my stories. Even the most well-adjusted teen from the most normal, loving family struggles with these issues. They all experience those feelings of being unloved, unaccepted, and undervalued. It’s one of the things I most want to address in my books.
And at that concert, while my son and the rest of the choir sang “Listen to My Voice”, those feelings were expressed so beautifully through the medium of music. The beauty of Mr. Zaheri’s melody… the poetry of his lyrics… brought to life the very heart of young people. The message wasn’t lost on them. And it wasn’t lost on me.
Sometimes my three hats seem to be so far apart. Thank you Amir Zaheri for showing me they overlap… in a big way.
Music expresses that which cannot be said
and on which it is impossible to be silent.
~ Victor Hugo