Discipline and joy

The last weeks at SN&R have been full of teenagers and music, as the paper just orchestrated a couple of weeks of community concerts—the fourth-annual Jammies—featuring the Sacramento area’s best high-school musicians.

First it was a night of contemporary music at the Crest on February 11, with young bands and singer-songwriters of all stripes—pop, grunge, punk, metal, folk, blues, etc.—laying it on the line for the near sold-out audience. Word of mouth after the Crest was unanimous: The show had been amazing.

Next, on February 18, came the classical night at the Mondavi Center, featuring traditional music—including a marching band, symphonic music, jazz, musical theater and choral music from local teens. The evening was an eye-opener and, among other things, boasted some show-stopping solo performers and jazz-ensemble pieces.

I’ll leave it to others to explain why SN&R has become so enthusiastic about promoting and exalting the high-school music scene in the region these past few years. Suffice it to say we’re proud to provide a stage and put a spotlight on these talented young people—to ensure that attention gets paid. This is especially true in a state budget environment where elementary and high schools have trended, sadly, toward phasing out music-education programs.

What is there to gain from kids playing music?

First, it’s the discipline. UC Davis’ Symphony Orchestra Conductor D. Kern Holoman, host of the classical Jammies show, spoke from the stage about kids; music; and practice, practice, practice. What young people give up to become proficient as musicians (television or nights hanging out) has to be weighed against what they gain: respect for talent, teamwork (in the case of a band) and an understanding of the power of hard work.

And along with the discipline comes the sheer joy that comes from making music of any kind. The passion exuded by the young musicians on both Jammies evenings was clear to all present.

It’s about discipline and joy, and this life lesson applies to more than music.

Find your passion. Then bring it.