Before the course started, I purchased a collection of all the sonatas and started listening to them. I enjoyed them because I like classical piano music. But they all sounded the same to me. Each one was like the others.
The class started and I learned what a piano sonata is (a solo piano work in one or more movements). I learned why they are called sonatas (first movement is usually in sonata form). I learned to identify movements in rondo, variation and scherzo forms.
Soon, I was able to distinguish the unique characteristics of each of the 32 sonatas. I began to recognize the repetition of certain musical patterns. I came to understand how Beethoven constructed his most important sonatas in ways that stretched the boundaries of classical composition established by Haydn, his teacher, and Mozart.
Before I took the Beethoven course, the sonatas would’ve made nice background music. Now, I can appreciate them for the genius that lies within them, the underlying structures so precisely crafted, and the musical themes that allow us to know Beethoven through the emotional content of his music.
This exploration of Beethoven’s music gave me distinctions. This is the basic pattern of learning. We attempt to understand something, and as we continue to explore, we begin to develop various distinctions, which allows us to see more clearly into a thing or situation.
If you are a chef, you have distinctions for cooking that most people don’t have, such as bard, parboil and zest. If you are a building contractor, you can look at a building and identify things that non contractors don’t see, like astrigal molding, blind stops and collar beams.
Exploring the music of your life is your own personal development.
Once you begin to explore the music of your life, that is, to make a study of your own process in an attempt to understand why your life “sounds” the way it does, then you can begin so see more deeply into how your life is constructed. More importantly, you can identify aspects of your life that flow, and those that do not.
You might learn what triggers you to anger, what makes you sad, and what leaves you powerless. You can identify hidden fears that keep you stuck in patterns that are not pleasing or beneficial to you.
Now you have some distinctions about the music of your life. Amid the noise of our lives we can now hear what stops the flow and creates disharmony. Then, we can become attuned to the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that resonate with the right vibration that allows us to create our lives as masterpieces.
However, this involves a conscious choice to study the music of your life that you have created so far and to understand why it exists in the form that it does. We make this choice out of a desire to create lives of greater harmony, fulfillment, or excitement. Most of us have the feeling that a radically different experience of life is possible, but we don’t have the distinctions necessary to get there.
Until we choose to create our lives on purpose, we are composers without paper, chefs without recipes and contractors without blueprints. We are at the mercy of what life delivers to us without knowing what do do with it, and we can end up dancing to a tune that doesn’t resonate with us.
But once we take full responsibility for our life with the aim of exploring what is possible, we can ask “How can I bring together all the parts of the music of my life in a powerful way?” instead of “Why is everything out of tune?”
George Bernard Shaw said “Life is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.”
Are you creating yourself by purposefully composing the music of your life so that the parts fit together beautifully and harmoniously?
Or does the noise and din of your existence make you wish you were deaf? If so, then begin with an exploration of the music of your life. Start with one part that is not in harmony and seek to understand why that part is out of tune.
Devote a month to studying that part of your life, whether it’s your marriage, your job or your internal (mind) experience. Read books and talk to experts. Develop distinctions such as “When this happens, I always do this” or “Thinking about doing that shuts me down” or “I really don’t like this part of myself at all”. Be honest and non-judgmental. The goal is to begin to distinguish what is working and what is not.
The music of your life well lived is the highest art. As Ludwig said: ” Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; art deserves that, for it and knowledge can raise man to the Divine.”