Ecstatic Reactions

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I have long marveled at the way live music evokes ecstatic reactions from members of the audience. I have seen this from being in the audience and being onstage, and it’s wonderful to behold. Clearly it’s a win-win situation.

When we’re young – very young – these types of spontaneous reactions are more common, for a couple of obvious reasons. One thing is, more stuff is really new to you when you’re very young so more things seem wonderful.  Secondly, you haven’t learned to temper that spontaneous thrill feeling

Why do we learn to be less amazed? Well, nothing is amazing over and over and over again, right? How could we ever get anything done if we relived the amazement of learning the refrigerator light goes out when you close the door every time we close that door? (You do know that light goes out, right? If not, prepare to be amazed!)

As you get older, it can be embarrassing to be too amazed too often – you end up looking like a rube – acting like Gomer Pyle, saying “Goll LEE!” at everything. Being amazed  – truly amazed, takes over your emotions at the time, pushing any other considerations or emotions away.

But the price we pay for being more worldly, or sophisticated, is losing sight of the joy of being deeply, emotionally – and ecstatically – impressed by something we see or hear.  

Young children remind us of this, with their unbridled joy at hearing music, or dancing – we long to regain some of the spontaneity – there must be a balance between allowing ourselves to be delighted and being a buffoon!

For some reason, art, and especially live music, can punch through that veneer of self-control and affect before we can prevent it from showing. I have seen a whole roomful of people have their jaws drop open simultaneously at a catchy and surprising bit of a song, or a perfectly sung harmonious vocal chorus. I have heard a room gasp as one – both as an audience member and as a performer – it’s magical!

How many of us have felt compelled to let the artist know how much you appreciated the way they made you feel? I know I have! Luckily, in Bluegrass, you often get the chance to tell the artist yourself, and that is satisfying too. You’re allowing yourself to be ecstatic, and trust me, you deserve to feel ecstatic – don’t ever forget that!

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