the most beautiful thing: three extra beats
It may seem like a small thing, three extra beats. A fast count of 1, 2, 3 goes by in the time of a simple inhale, in the time it takes to turn the head to see who has walked in the room. It is half of a long sigh, twice the length of a sweet blink of the eyes. It is half of a 6/8 bar of music and it is exactly what was needed.
Tonight, I sat with my piano teacher – a gifted, and above all else among my short list of helpful criteria for a man sitting with me at the piano, kind one. He is a quiet cheerer-on sort of a person with sparkling eyes and a wavy-haired smile that says quietly, “Yes, trust yourself.” And trust, is exactly what I need when it comes to putting music to paper, making paper sing under my fingers, making my fingers dance with my voice. Trust that my ears know what my heart wants to sound like out in the world. Trust that there is time to bring it all together and always will be. Trust that the time it takes to learn the fingers, hold the note, finish the phrase is just the time it takes, perfect and honest. Trust that if I feel, not just hear, but feel that three extra beats in a phrase that the book says “should” have been wrapped up without them are a fine number of beats to include.
I write with space and languish, with loyalty to the breath and fluids of the body under my vocal chords, with more respect for emotional pause than rigid notation and interpretation. And sometimes at the end of a phrase of music, the chords and the melody and the heart inside them simply wish for a few extra beats to live into before a piece, it’s players, it’s voyeurs move on to the next idea, the next group of colors, the next life inside it’s unique rainbow tonal world. And tonight, a few extra beats is exactly what that song got – rightfully, naturally. Three extra beats to be exact. And they were by far the most beautiful thing about this day.