Deirdre Moore | June 2013

Live and In Person! The Transcendence of Experiencing Live Art

I was sitting in the very last row of the auditorium.

You could have heard a pin drop.  It was as though the whole audience was holding its collective breath waiting for the next note.  The tears streamed down my face as the St. Lawrence String Quartet performed the first movement of their very first piece.  Now I recognize that I am a very sensitive person but I was truly surprised at how strong a reaction I had to watching and listening to this string quartet, how easily I was transported along with the rest of the audience to seemingly transcend that place and time and experience something divine.

That night I was reminded how incredibly powerful it can be not only to experience live art being performed, not only how powerful having that collective art experience can be, but how powerful and inspiring it is to be in the presence of masters.  I had forgotten because it had been a while for me but I have been lucky to have had many experiences like this in my lifetime because I was lucky enough to have parents who had the means and the desire to expose me to a wide variety of performing and visual arts.  There are so many valuable field trips we can take with our students and so many wonderful assemblies we can arrange right in our schools but we need to remember to be sure to include collective art experiences with masters of their art form.

Then and Now….

As a young girl I can remember seeing the Hartford Ballet perform the Nutcracker and being amazed at how high the dancers could jump and what beautiful shapes they could make with their bodies.  In the summer I loved going to outdoor concerts of the U.S. Coast Guard Band and hearing them play “Stars and Stripes Forever” with the sounds of the brass instruments reverberating through my body as the fireworks exploded overhead.  I remember being mesmerized watching a glassblower heating and forming the glass with such ease, such fluidity that it looked like a dance, and feeling like I was watching a magician as the piece began to take shape.

As an adult I was blown away listening to Liza Minnelli as she held an audience spellbound with only herself standing on a stage singing.  Or seeing “Once On This Island” performed on Broadway with a story that tore at my heartstrings and a small chorus of voices whose richness, power, and texture filled the auditorium with sound and passion.

Think about your own life, about the art experiences that have touched you, changed you, enriched you.

The rowdy experience of a live concert with people cheering and singing along, to a silent experience where the audience seems to make a secret pact to hold a sacred space for the art being performed before their eyes.  As educators we constantly try to broaden the minds and hearts of our students and inspire them to achieve to ever greater heights.  Think of those experiences that have inspired you to want to be better, to be a part of something bigger and greater, to transcend limits and to touch, if only for a moment, something divine.  Then start searching for ways to create those experiences for your students and inspire yourself in the process!

About the Author

Deirdre is a teaching artist and AI coach in the San Diego public schools dedicated to helping classroom teachers make arts an integral part of their teaching. Deirdre has an MEd in Arts Integration and over twenty years of classroom and performing arts teaching experience. Email Deirdre.