Essay: A special lesson at school

For CIRCES: For those who have eyes to see and ears to listen.

It was 9 o´clock and the pupils were gathering in the class room. The music teacher told the pupils to bring their instruments for this lesson and so everyone has brought his favorite musical instrument. Indeed, there was a diversity of instruments in the class room as everyone had quite individual preferences. There were the more common instruments like drums, guitars and flutes but also a few exotic ones like ukulele, harmonica and harp.

Time was passing by and the teacher didn´t come. The pupils were getting bored. “Where is the teacher? Why is he not coming?” someone asked. And another repeated “He messaged me that he is late today and we simply should wait for him! He also said that we should already do some warm up exercises.” The pupils were not really enthusiastic about these news. Some preferred talking while others simply played with their smartphones. A few pupils started to get active with their instruments. In one corner a girl started to play on her flute. Someone else tuned his guitar and made some sounds. Then there was this boy with his trumpet and another one with drums. Everyone was playing on his instrument alone, just following his own ideas and so there was a big noise in the class room.

The noise was terrible. Additionally some pupils started to shout loud at each other. As everyone was playing his own piece of music, there was a great disharmony of sounds in the room. The pupils with their musical instruments were bothering each other. In consequence the single pupils simply become louder to drown out their neighbors which made everyone even more frustrated and angry. They were already at the edge of beating each other when suddenly the door opened and the teacher appeared. It was already 10 o´clock.

The teacher was a wise old man with a bright charisma. He saw the chaos and directly understood what has happened. The pupils became aware that the teacher had appeared and immediately stopped making noise.  The silence was awesome.

“What are you doing, my dear pupils?” the teacher asked with a smile. “You all have beautiful musical instruments but you use them to make noise and to bother each other.”

It felt like an enlightenment for the pupils when they become aware of what the teacher has said.

And the teacher continued “You all love music. That´s way you are here. And you know that music is based on rhythm, on melody and harmony and that this is all a matter of beauty. But what you have been doing so far is to cause disharmony, noise and chaos. How can this be?”

In the class room the pupils started murmuring and thinking about how the whole situation could have developed in this way. After a while a girl put up her hand, the teacher nodded and the girl said “We were all too focused on ourselves. We just wanted to play our favorite piece of music without communicating with the others or paying respect to what they wanted to play. In this way the noise started and we were bothering each other, even increasing the volume to drown out all others. This behavior was not intentionally but more subconsciously. Now, as you have opened our eyes, we see what we have done and that it has not made any sense.”

“You are right, Sophie.” The teacher replied. “When we are too focused on ourselves, we forget about the others. We forget to communicate and to pay respect to each other. When we are only aware of our own ideas, wishes and needs, we forget about the greater unity of our group. We forget that we all love music and enjoy making music. And certainly it cannot be a fight between the single musical instruments. It is not about fighting, not about which instrument is more powerful or more beautiful. In fact it is about the uniqueness, the beauty of each single instrument and the specific sounds it can produce. And we see the great diversity of musical instruments and how they complement each other in the music, we get to see the higher principle, the beauty of harmony, the unity underlying the diversity.”

This speech made the pupils think and they understood what the teacher said. “Only when all pupils align and focus on one piece of music altogether something of greater value can be accomplished and all pupils with their special instruments can be integrated and appreciated as precious complementing parts of the greater whole. What a fascinating idea.” Sophie thought for herself silently.

The teacher looked at every single pupil, smiling and nodding. “You are a great group of young musicians and I like every one of you. I appreciate every one of you, your individual way to make music and I like your instruments. And now it is time to experience the beauty and harmony when we combine our instruments to play a piece of music together. “

The teacher chose a piece of music while the pupils got ready. The teacher took the place of the conductor in the center while the pupils surrounded him. And then they started playing. The piece of music was unfolding and every single pupil was enthusiastic and happy to play his special part in the orchestra. Everyone was able to feel the underlying, all-connecting harmony, the deeper unity and all of them felt their uniqueness, how precious each and every one was in this wonderful dynamic harmony of sounds and played instruments. Everyone felt integrated in this higher order, this natural order.

It was truly a wonderful experience for all and the wise teacher smiled from his heart.

The young pupils have learned a precious lesson this day.