on rests.

I used to play tuba. As such, there were often long stretches of music pieces we played during which I didn’t play. We would spend these times counting very carefully (1-2-3-4, 2-2-3-4, 3-2-3-4 and so on). It was stressful at times because you had to make sure you entered at the right place.

Last night a friend was talking about this very experience. He plays trumpet, his son is a violinist, and both spend time resting and counting.

As Kent talked about this kind of resting, he mentioned the challenge of learning to rest in the resting to be able to enjoy what other people are doing, to enjoy the music.

I thought of a couple other elements of extended rests.

  • When we are resting, we give other people the opportunity to be heard. A tuba covers up a lot. When we rest, the clarinets can be heard more clearly. And sometimes, they need to be featured that way.
  • When we are resting, we are reminded that you don’t have to play all the time to make a meaningful contribution to the piece. The silence is part of the playing as well.
  • When we are resting, we can be preparing for the playing that we do.

I suppose that there may be some application of these ideas outside of music. But I’ll stop playing and let you think about it.

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2 responses to “on rests.

  1. Kent’s comments resonated with me as well, and reminded me of the wonderful line in Milton’s sonnet, “on His Blindness”: “They also serve who only stand and wait.” For an extended treatment of the idea that God uses those times of “rest” when we seem not to be serving any purpose, I recommend a lovely and profound little book by Alicia Britt Chole, “Anonymous”.

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