One of the most complex facets of music is that it is, by nature, an ephemeral art. Although it exists in perpetuity as a series of dots and dashes on a white landscape, it lives only in performance.
In my life, I've spent a lot of time in this transitory world of music. As a performer I do everything within my power to understand and bring life to each piece I sing. After all, I have very little interest in singing pages 33-37 from some dusty musical tome. In my ephemeral existence, I want to loosen the shackles of predictability and immerse myself in this alternate universe -- this wonderous, musical Through-the-Looking-Glass land -- even for only a little while.
But arriving at that point can be difficult. It requires so much more than academic research. Its needs are a curious mind, an open heart and the willingness to be open to whatever answers it presents. The key (pardon the pun) is to be aware. The key is to not pass by a single note, dynamic marking, harmonic progression, tempo change or rhythmic figure without asking the why's of its existence. The key is to not take a single thing for granted, because music is the culmination of a thousand tiny details, and each with its own story to tell.
The ephemeral nature of music is a bittersweet existence. Despite the amazing technological advances of this day and age, it is impossible to take that one perfect moment, that one indescribable performance and bottle it so it is forever saved. Much like trying to command the ocean or hold the beach in your hands; No matter how hard you try it will eventually slip through your fingers and fall away.
But even that doesn't stop the undeniable desire to have it in our lives.
By its very definition, we know that the ephemeral is not a lengthy visitor. But while it is here -- while life is led and songs are sung -- we are changed by its very existence. And it is at those moments when we hear a beautiful song, take a walk through a quiet forest, or look into the frozen night sky to discover the shimmering colors of the northern lights dancing all around us, we know we carry the stories and heartsongs that make the ephemeral live forever.