What am I doing here? Pt 1
Matt Kaplan is currently a Music Intern in Spain. This is the third in a series of blog posts he’s written for us while there. See the rest of his posts listed here.
There are two really important things about my life that’d I’d like to share here. I’ve never written about this before and I don’t usually take the time to talk about it with many people aside from my own personal reflection.
The first aspect of my life that I hold close is my love for music. I am a classical guitarist and have been playing music for about 13 years now. To me, Music is a fascinating art form and every day that I pick up my instrument, I am humbled my the limitless possibilities I have at my disposal to express myself. I interpret all types of music on my guitar from Johann Sebastian Bach to Frederic Chopin (neither of whom ever actually wrote any music for the guitar). Lately I have been interpreting 20th century Spanish music. That’s where my experience now with Performing Arts Abroad comes in.
Music, as much as it is now my career, is also an amazing tool for communication. As a musician I see music much like learning a language as there are several different types of music, ways of speaking and understanding it, and always ways to improve within it. The most important thing is its way of conveying emotion and ideas in an authentic way (in my case without any words or lyrics) that probably dates back to before we had formal language. If you think about it notes = letters, melodies and chord progressions = sentences, and any piece of music = a book or conversation.
Living in Barcelona, Spain puts me right in the heart of the culture of my instrument. Between seeing amazing Spanish concerts, learning more about authentic flamenco interpretation, and more; I have been pleasantly overwhelmed with activity. My time here so far teaching new students and listening to new artists and people on a daily basis has reopened my eyes to why I chose to dedicate my life to this art. It’s all about communication, bettering yourself, and having the best time possible (even when things aren’t going your way)! Sometimes I wonder if my students here in Spain realize how much I am actually learning from them…
I may not make the most money in this life or ever be the musician that I want to become, but for me it’s more about the process. For me, the means will always justify the end (not the other way around which is more commonly said). Life is a beautiful and ongoing process that ends for all of us at some point. I always think: why would anyone waste one second of it doing something that doesn’t make them happy? What means will you put yourself through to achieve that sense of fulfillment? This experience abroad for me has narrowed down a list of a few things I know are important to me at this stage in my life: music, traveling, and helping others.
I am so thankful for my time here for reawakening me to these reflections on what is important. I have just finished recording four videos with my classical guitar: two traditional Spanish pieces and two arrangements of Catalan songs. It was a crazy experience to be able to record those songs here in Barcelona that I would not have been able to have otherwise. Hopefully I will have the links in a few days! Thanks again for reading, I appreciate it. More on the rest of what I’m doing here in another post…