Sudden Joy

Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man. ~Rabindranath Tagore, Indian poet, writer, and more

Because of the pandemic, I’m still having my flute lessons outdoors.

In a public park, six feet away from my teacher.

It’s been trying, weather-wise.

One day, I was bundled in a winter coat and carried along a portable heater to ward away the bitter, damp wind.

Another day, I was so busy swatting bugs and wiping my mouthpiece of sweat that I barely strung musical phrases together.

But this weekend was glorious — sunny and warm, with just a hint of a breeze.

Best of all, the park wasn’t busy (meaning I didn’t have to fear an audience’s criticism!)

Do you know how pretty a flute sounds outdoors?

It does. Take my word for it.

Or take the word of this tow-headed boy of maybe three or four.

He, his sister, and their mom were visiting the playground, and I hadn’t even noticed them until I heard spirited clapping during one piece I was playing.

I felt myself blush, and my teacher said, ‘See? Others appreciate the music, too.’

And, as if to make double-sure I knew how much he liked the sound, he dragged his mom closer and clapped even louder.

‘He really likes your music,’ she said.


His sudden joy humbled me and reminded me what a privilege it is to be able to bring so much happiness to others.

I hope this pandemic ends soon so ensembles can return to live concerts.

And I hope this child will always be a music-lover.

Our world needs his kind of enthusiasm.

23 thoughts on “Sudden Joy

  1. Debbie, we’re having the same kind of weather here. One day it’s hot and humid, the next it’s cold. Like you, last weekend in Philly was glorious!

    And it’s ironic you mentioned how pretty a flute sounds outdoors because you’re so right. In my neighborhood in the evenings, there’s a woman who stands on the corner and plays the flute for those sitting outside in our restaurants having dinner. And even though I’m on an upper floor of my apartment building, I can still hear it and it’s so relaxing and uplifting.

    “‘He really likes your music,’ she said. His sudden joy humbled me and reminded me what a privilege it is to be able to bring so much happiness to others.”

    OMG, that is so sweet! And I’m sure you DID bring happiness to them. Like you said, our world does need this kind of enthusiasm.

    Beautiful post, my friend! It put a smile on my heart.

    Play on! xo

    • I love your story of the woman who plays flute for diners in your neighborhood, Ron — what a brave soul she is! I’m still uncomfortable playing solo in public, but I don’t have much choice as long as this pandemic exists. Our being outdoors for my lessons is about the best way to prevent our exchanging germs, ha!

      I’m glad this one made you smile — it did for me, too. The unbridled delight of a small child is a beautiful thing! They can display such a wide range of emotions … without feeling self-conscious.

      Enjoy your week, my friend! xo

  2. That’s so wonderful, I teared up. I haven’t played since we did that little concert in late September. I had my clarinet tuned up, taken all apart and cleaned and put together with new pads and springs and such. I need to play it. Maybe even out on the back deck, as today will be our last day of beautiful weather! Thank you for inspiring me.

    • I’m glad if I was able to inspire you, Dawn! Clarinet, too, is beautiful when played outdoors, and I’m sure that, now yours is all spiffied up, it’s feeling neglected and lonely! Today is our last warm day as well. A cold front is due this evening, and we’ll be dropping on average 20-25 degrees every day for the next week. The news of a possible vaccine gives me hope our summer concert season can be salvaged!

  3. I work in a music school. Not being able to attend performance is hard. Sometimes I tear up when I hear someone practicing outdoors. I think the need for music is similar to the need for human touch.

    • I think you’re absolutely right, Sarah! I try to keep music near me while I’m working, but there’s something magical about playing in an ensemble … for a live audience. You can see how much they enjoy it by their faces! I feel sorry for music (and theater) majors, who must find this whole Rona virus challenging. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. This is a wonderful inspiring story, Debbie. Way to go! I love that you’re taking lessons outside and the little boy enjoyed it so much. Holy, holy, holy! ❤

    • Aw, can you see me blushing?? Thanks for your kind words, Kathy. I’m more of an ensemble player than a solo performer, but it was such a pretty day outdoors and the child was so happy, that I couldn’t help but be inspired!

  5. It’s wonderful that you were able to delight that little boy, and that he was so spontaneous in his response. I agree that there are some instruments that seem made for the outdoors, and flute is one of them. There are others, of course: pan pipes, fife, and so on. I suppose portability has been one reason for their popularity over the centuries. It’s easier for a shepherd — or a Covid-constrained musician! — to just pick up the instrument and boogie on down the road.

    • Portability definitely is a plus, Linda. I’d hate to have to pack a grand piano in a truck and haul it outdoors for a lesson, ha! I got a real kick out of this child’s exuberance. His mom was almost apologetic about his “disturbing” me, but I was glad for the brief intermission. Playing flute is hard work!

  6. Wonderful. The flute is a beautiful instrument – and like any instrument, the better the musician, the better the sound. Music has always been part of my life, so this simple post made my smile. Thanks, Debbie.

  7. Sometimes we just need to pay more attention to young children, don’t we? Here you were worrying that others might be annoyed by our playing, and that little one let you know you were bringing them joy. What a gift!

    • Thanks very much, Ann! I imagine hearing live music in the park is just rare enough that that little one was enchanted.Kind of made me feel like the Pied Piper, ha!

    • What a happy notion, Barbara — thank you for pointing it out to me! As an introvert, it’s hard to “perform” outside where people can listen to me as I try to learn my new instrument. If even one person enjoys it, I’m pleased!

  8. Way to go, Debbie. Your dedication to your flute is impressive! My violinist mama always said, “practice makes perfect,” but when I tried to learn the violin later in life it just screeched (and screeched!) I played flute in high school marching band and later took it with me overseas as a way to decompress after crazy days. May your flute continue to give you (and others) much joy! Blessings – Virginia

    • Aw, gee, thanks, Virginia! It’s hard — no one but another flute player understands how much AIR it takes to blow a flute! But yes, practice is key and a great way to decompress!!

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