My parents named me Kylie Joye. My middle name is evidently a variant on the old English word “Joy” defined by the Oxford English Dictionary thus:
- a deep feeling or condition of happiness or contentment
- something causing such a feeling; a source of happiness
- an outward show of pleasure or delight; rejoicing
Being an Instrumental teacher, I am well familiar with pieces of music that have a narrow range of note pitches. These invariably crop up in various tutor books and are learnt early on, as students get their fingers/hands/elbows/mouths around their chosen instruments.
Tuesday night [June 16th] was my “Mid-year Strings Concert”. My aim for this annual event is to have every student perform and then listen to the others, so the earliest beginner is inspired by the senior students, and the elder ones support and mentor the younger. This week 70+ violinists, violists and cellists took to the stage.
One of the items played was “Ode to Joy” – in fact the theme from the Finale of Beethoven’s famous 9th “The Choral” Symphony. At this point in the original, the massed choir joins the orchestra, raising their voices in a rousing Chorus, chanting “Joy, Joy”.
I enjoy throwing some humour into my compere role at concerts like this, and at least some of the Parents in the audience laugh at my jokes.
But these students weren’t laughing at anybody’s jokes. The looks on their faces, captured by the camera while playing, radiate, I feel, pure joy.
Joy of music, joy of being.
I have a small group of Year 6 Cellists, whose lesson time backs on to break time. One week I took a phone call just as the bell rang. I returned to remind the girls that their lesson time was complete and it was now “Recess”. They wanted me to hear what they had done in my short absence. Assuming they had improved their Cello piece I was surprised and amazed that, instead, they had come up with a “Rap” number all about how much they loved playing cello, all in rhyme.
A few weeks ago I asked them if they remembered it and if they would like to revise it as a variety concert number. Well beyond my expectations, the crew instead expanded and finessed their item into a complete song and dance number. On the day, I discovered that they had also coordinated costumes and needed to move around the whole stage, so I hurriedly rearranged the program order to have a clear stage until after their appearance.
Wow, was I glad I had trusted them and “ran with it” as they were truly amazing, and the audience loved them and their song “Cello Rocks”.
Well, Girls, YOU ROCK!
Scripture has much to say about joy, and it’s no surprise to me the connection it makes between joy and music.
Psalm 95 begins:
1 O come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
And, from Psalm 98:
1 O sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvellous things.
4 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
5 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.
6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.
7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who live in it.
8 Let the floods clap their hands;
let the hills sing together for joy
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I like to think of myself as an optimistic, “glass half-full” type of person, and am one of those annoying, I suppose, individuals who try to jolly others along in difficult times by proffering platitudes like “Cheer up, it might never happen” and referencing the likes of Monty Python’s “Always look on the Bright side of Life” (something I learnt from the British).
In my Strings teaching, I am guilty of, at times, sacrificing the theoretical and the technical aspects, especially at the outset, in favour of attempting to inspire my students to “catch” the joy, the fun, even the exhilaration of making music.
So that’s why I do what I do. Not for the $$ or the greater glory of “Kylie Joye.”
But to feel that I have, in some way, facilitated the enhanced life experience of these young people.
To share that Joy.
Author’s Note: Express permission has been sought from, and given by, parents of featured students in these images for the photographs to be included.