Practice in the dark

I am always telling my pupils to close their eyes or turn the light off. To listen instead of watching their fingers, to feel the music with their whole being.  As a child I always played in the dark, letting the music take over and never knowing where it would take me.  The other day I was booked to play at a local venue which had just finished a massive refurbishment.  It looked beautiful.  Alas the door didn’t work but I waited outside with my harp and a lady in her wheelchair whilst they ran up and down the stairs visible through the massive glass window till they found a plastic card that opened the door.  The auditorium was fantastic.  The chairs rose up in front of me to a great height and it was wonderful to see familiar faces and children in the audience.  I was looked after like a star!  Would I like tea or coffee?  Did I like the dressing room? Was it big enough?  Did I like the ensuite shower and bathroom?  Yes! (Wow!). The lights dimmed and I started to play.  Suddenly we were all plunged into pitch darkness.  I carried on and the audience applauded at the end of the piece.  A lady from the back apologised and said we could wait whilst they called the lighting engineer who had gone for lunch.  I replied no need if everyone was happy and to just leave the auditorium lights on.  I set off again and to our surprise the lights suddenly came on, followed immediately by a multicoloured disco effect zooming around the stage.  The audience cheered at the end of the tune, and the next and the next as we went from disco to black, to strobe, to zooming, to spotlight, and back to disco.  The children loved it and we had an amazing time.  I asked “any questions?” and over a hundred excited hands raised.  When we finally ended over 30 children and adults came to ‘have a go’.   The lady from the back was stressed.  We would have to leave and there wasn’t tine for this as there was a book group at 2 pm.  I packed up and carried my harp to the door.  A young man ran up apologising.  He was sorry he went for lunch.  That’s alright I replied, we made the best of it.  Apparently the lights were on automatic setting for a magic show…..  

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