Last night I sat in Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall. Last night I had an ‘aha’ moment. Not watching Dame Edna cavorting on stage but at Benjamin (forgive me for not remembering his last name), the beautifully natured conductor.
My ‘aha’ was this: when I grow up, I want to be a conductor.
In an orchestra, there are highs and lows. A conductor hears them all, feels their vibrations as they wash through him to the audience, and appreciates them all. He understands maybe better than most what the light and shade of tone achieves in full and delivers in experience. He understands that each movement, somber or sad or scintillating, has its place.
He trusts that each section of the organic music-making team knows their part. The trust is that, following the music by rote, everything will finish up at the same time. But he is there to bring the passion and the nuance into the music, to bring it to life in the way he understands life to need it. The smiles in the audience tell him when his vision resonates with those around him. And he understands that today the music may be slightly different to tomorrow.
He stands in front of two crowds. One listens to him, respects his vision and surround him to make it real, by string or breath or beat. The other has to be won over by his interpretation of what he wants to bring to life. He cares not what they see but lives each moment of the music in mind and body and spirit. He waves and weaves and wends his body through the notes but is not a dancer. He bounces on his heels with feverish vigour but isn’t an excited child. His hands punctuate the air with stick in hand, but he’s not a warrior. He’s not afraid to live each second with his all. He trusts that sight is not the sole element in people’s judgement of him and his work.
He will win some and lose some throughout life. Some will call him maverick, some label him traditionalist. Some will carry themselves on his journey and some will actively opt in.
Last night I saw someone being so true to himself that it was awe-inspiring. When I grow up, I want to live my symphony of a life like that.