Music Tip #20    From Carol Worthey

What Is The Highest Form of Art?

Carol Worthey

Make your life a Work of Art--that is the highest form of art, a life well lived. One that at the end will not shrivel in regret but will leave others, despite their sadness to lose you, yet happy that you lived. That you made a positive difference in their lives.

When I say a life well lived, I'm not talking about fancy cars and big bank accounts (although I have nothing against large sums of money except when someone has clawed their way all the way to the bank.) No, I'm talking about a different kind of richness: The richness of understanding.

A life well lived deeply cares about the welfare of others. A life full of art and creativity puts beauty all around--in a delicious meal or a plant blooming in a window, in the smile on a child's face, in laughter and hugs and appreciation of the simple blessings of family, friends, pets and home, in the small touches one places about, in all the myriad opportunities to make others feel special and loved. A life well lived is not free of troubles, but they are approached as challenges, not stops. A person who understands how to turn life into art can talk to beggars and princes and give dignity and humanity to both.

But, you are probably asking, what does all this pretty philosophy have to do with Music?

No one is alone. Music does not exist in a vacuum. The composer, performer and listener (as we have already discussed) are all part of the picture. Each is part of the creative process. What does this have to do with talent?

If you have a gift for music, it is only a gift so long as you give it to others. This truism is ironic and paradoxical but it is still true, the paradox only underscoring how powerful and accurate is this truth. If you have a gift for music, it is only a gift so long as you give it to others.

Each individual is unique--and this fact of uniqueness is one of the glories of the great expressions of art down through the ages, the individual communicating his or her specialness to others in a universally cogent way. Yes, each individual is unique, but we do need others.

Locked inside the lonely room of a closed and secretive heart, even the greatest talent will turn to stone. Give your gift to others by communicating and sharing it. Let us take an example of why this is important: Emily Dickinson was a great poet, yet she was a recluse spinster who had been rejected in love and whose poems nearly escaped our eyes. So we are back to the tree falling in the forest! Who is to know that if her gift would have crumbled to dust in a dresser drawer, and if all those pungent and gorgeous poems had remained unknown to us, in that silence would Emily's genius and pain and glory really have mattered? No. We had to hear the tree falling, we had to open her poetry and shed tears of our own. In her exposed pain, the delicate leaves and tired branches of her abandoned love had to crash straight into our hearts. Only in that way could Emily give grandeur and meaning to OUR lives in her particular quiet but searing way. Thank goodness for accidents of discovery. Thank you, whoever first opened Emily's dresser drawer and refused to burn the manuscript.

A selfish artist is less an artist for that pridefulness or bitterness that fools him or her into thinking that making art only for oneself is sufficient. Art NEEDS to be shared. When you bring out the talents of others, then your truest gift of talent has gone full circle and YOUR gift becomes a true gift, in every sense of the word.

I believe we are ALL creative, no matter how hidden or forgotten are our abilities, no matter how swathed in cruelty or guilt or shyness these gifts are.

Give your gifts to others and you will gain gifts aplenty past your wildest dreams. The art of living is the highest art-form and the rarest. Living life with passion, creativity and kindness shouldn't be so rare. Let's all put a lot more beauty, truth and love out there in the world. The world needs it.

And we need the world.

Next: What Secret about Musical Creativity Don't Listeners Realize?