Saturday, April 12, 2014


This afternoon we went to Jack's saxophone teacher Ben's senior recital, which was held in a great old lecture hall in the oldest building on BYU's campus. Roger and I reminisced about the one class we took together in college and which was held in that same room.

After half an hour of classical and more technical pieces on the flute, clarinet and sax that I think were required for his recital, we listened to another half hour of Ben playing in his true element: jazz. Even though it was 4:00 in the afternoon, the quartet played like it was midnight at the club.

I mentioned to Ben's mom afterwards that Roger and I had taken a class together in the same room. She said, "I'll bet it was a lot quieter than this was." Roger and I laughed. The class was a mock constitutional convention. Deliberating, caucusing, arguing, jockeying for position, delivering rousing speeches, celebrating every point won. It was anything but quiet!

During the concert, I reflected on something I'd heard earlier today about how we so readily focus on competition in politics at the expense of other methods of working together, and that is part of the reason we aren't so good at sorting through our differences.

It's mesmerizing watching musicians improvise together. It's true collaboration. Giving each other the floor to riff, listening carefully for cues, covering for each other when they have to adjust their instruments, operating within the constraints of rhythm and key that paradoxically enable individual voices to come together to create something unique and interesting and worth listening to.

We should take note.

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