AYO Musicians at Camp
Posted by Delia Bartle
Tuesday 6th January, 2015

‘I look forward to meeting you, as people and musicians. They’re the same thing, aren’t they?’

These were the closing words from National Music Camp’s (NMC) 2015 Music Director, James Judd, as he welcomed this year’s 230 participants in Elder Hall.

People say that music is a universal language. I’ve been fortunate over the past few days to witness this in practice. I’ve watched as players establish community through new friendships, sharing a laugh at Judd’s comment following a particular phrase (‘Listen to somebody else, don’t listen to yourself, especially if you play like that’).

Sitting in on rehearsals, it’s inspiring to watch the musicians’ engagement with the music and each other. The music comes alive, communicating something personal to the audience. The music is infinite.

I look around at my fellow NMC participants and find them busy studying scores, scrawling program notes, organising administration to an almost OCD standard, or sharing appalling puns (‘That coffee was too hot to…Handel’). Undeterred by Adelaide’s dry air, there’s an enthusiastic buzz that can be found across the largely sandstone campus of Adelaide University.

Last night we had a session called ‘Meet The Music Director’. James Judd addressed the significance of working as individual musicians in an orchestral setting: ‘Be yourself, you can’t hide when you play music.’ Music has the power to transform people’s lives, and I feel that we’ll see this over the next two weeks.

After these discussions, I began to contemplate the question: what does music mean to people? Is it something intangible that connects us to the world and each other? Is it a way of expressing emotion? Is it a fragment of a tune we heard on radio that morphs into a persistent earworm? Is it as addictive and essential as caffeine? (The WAM colony alone might well be draining Adelaide’s coffee supply and it’s only the second day…) Or: is it all of the above?

I caught up with three musicians in a spare moment to ask what music means to them:

‘I think it’s something about being able to express my emotions. I love the fact that as a musician, you can connect with other musicians in a way you can’t with other people. It’s a connection about the same knowledge, the same feeling.’ – Chiarene, 20 (Arts Administration)

‘It’s life really. It’s just everything. It permeates every single aspect of my life. It’s inspirational, and you can match music to everything.’ – Joseph, 20 (violin)

‘Music for me is to capture beauty, to share a moment in time and to express emotion. It is intimate and infinite.’ – Eugenie, 20 (Words About Music)

– Delia Bartle

Words About Music participants will be blogging daily.