My son Ben blogged last week about a moment of pure joy he got from one in-tune note he coaxed out of his student band. He described the sensation in cruder terms, but I know exactly what he’s talking about.
I have some musical ability, although very little talent. Still, I’ve played enough to have shared in those moments of bliss when everyone in the band is “on” and the music takes on a life apart from the musicians. It’s like riding down a steep hill on a bike and taking your hands off the handle bars.
And it doesn’t matter what kind of group you’re playing in – I remember that sensation back in junior high band, in the pre-punk band I played in during high school and the band of work buddies I played with in my 30s.
The whole notion of capturing those perfect musical moments was the theme of my favorite episode of the best “kids” program ever, The Adventures of Pete and Pete. In Hard Day’s Pete, Little Pete hears a garage band (featuring Marshall Crenshaw and Syd Straw) playing what instantly becomes his favorite song and he spends the episode searching for it before the memory of it disappears. The conclusion is predictable, but for me, at least, that doesn’t detract from it’s impact: