There was a french horn in our tub and this is a hopeful sign of good things to come. When Hope, bandmaster and brass afficiando, cleans an instrument, there is promise that either she or some disciple is about to play.
If you have not heard a College and a kindergarten make music at the same event, you have missed great hope. Making music is a higher pleasure than merely consuming music. Making ancient and new music, played by old and young, ties together times and is an echo of eternity. The music that is the food of love is played live!
If these are difficult times, they also are the sort of times where hope springs eternal in the heart of the human breast. I am no musician, but good teachers taught me to play a recorder and sing a bit. Sometimes when I am feeling melancholy, I will get out my recorder and play old hymns, older folk tunes. My fingers are stiff, lack of practice does that to a man, but the notes are there. Sometimes I sound good, playing only to whatever airy beings are in my office.
I ask their pardon and their prayers! Music is too vital to the soul to be left to the professionals or the best. We still pray, though we are not saints. We must make music, even if poor musicians.
Plato could not see justice in a soul that lacked music. The harmony one must learn to live the good life means that we must practice making the sounds, motions, and patterns of the cosmos. The soul that makes music will find loving wisdom easier. This ancient wisdom undergirds any decent education.
Making music can destroy materialism. Music can be described mathematically, yet is made with our bodies. When we make music, we bridge the gap between the world of ideas and the material. We know and feel that there is more in heaven and earth than is allowed in an atheist’s philosophy. Music is the food of true love: the discipline to play the horn, the intellect to read the music, the fit body for the wind control to play the note. These are preparatory to true love- soul, mind, and body.
If tempted to despair, recall that even in the gulags people made music. Tyrants can blare and cover insecurity with Wagnerian sound, but Bach and the chants from evening vespers continue. If we are faithful, then college students will be encouraged to start a band in some garage or corner of a college. That band subverts statism, consumerism, and ugliness by existing! Make music, know hope!
This is not “mere idealism,” but practical. Music is powerful and if we learn to make our own music, then that power is our own. The official organs of the state may pump sound at us, but we can rip the buds from our ears and create our own tunes or play songs they wish we would forget. We can sing The Battle Hymn to the racists, play Silent Night to the Marxists, and hum show tunes to those who charge too much for theater.
The instrument in our tub is clean and in her case ready to be played.
Hope works: One instrument at a time in time for Paradise’s party.