Monday, 2 April 2012
Monday 2nd April - Silence
For one thing, my fingers are creating a tipperty-tapperty noise on the keyboard. Some kind of chain saw has started up nearby; further away I can hear the continuous drone of a sit-and-ride mower going round and round the big gardens of the big houses on the estate at the back of us, and the steady subdued roar or the traffic on the dual carriage way at the back of the big houses.
My neighbours are clanking around in their kitchen and garage; buckets and mopping and housework and gardening noises.
Over and above and between all these man-made sounds, the birds are adding to the general hubbub and clamour of a suburban garden.
For me, it counts as silence.
My day job (primary school class music teacher) is very noisy.
The gentlest sounds are when we are quietly listening to something peaceful - "Aquarium" from Carnival of the Animals, or "Intermezzo" from Bizet's Carmen are two of my favourites.
The best loud sounds are the samba band in full, focused flow; surdos and agogo bells belting out the rhythms, tamborims attacking the off-beats with mathematical precision; the mind-force of thirty-five individuals working as one, or maybe the djembe classes - three dozen seven-year olds performing Kuku and layering up the patterns as though their life depended on it.
There are many candidates for the most horrendous noise; beginner descant recorders and beginner clarinets are the ones that vie for first place, but the school hall with six groups of primary school children using the entire contents of the music cupboard to create their own interpretation of "War" is pretty cacophonous in the early stages.
My ears get no peace in the evening; sometimes, my pupils move me to tears by their sensitive, thoughtful, insightful performance - be it at beginner or advanced level. Other times I also feel like crying from frustration and even physical pain as they force their way like a chain saw through the jungle of notes and symbols that get in their way.
Today it is lunchtime, and I have not been required to listen to anything.
For me, this is silence.