Something To Think About

At a knitting class this week, the student asked me about learning to knit without looking at her stitches and needles. This is a skill I don’t have but I suppose it would be useful if you like to knit in low light situations or if you were anticipating losing your vision. Can you knit without looking? How did you learn?

Last night I went to a concert that was advertised as the music of Ray Charles. I like his music so was really looking forward to the concert. Sadly, I was disappointed.

The performer was blind as was Ray Charles. He bounced between a keyboard, an organ, and the concert grand piano (they were set up in close proximity) and played all of them with abandon. Watching him, I got to wondering how he knew where the particular notes were? Were the keyboards marked in some way so he could find middle C for example?

I thought back to when I took accordian lessons. The bass buttons are arranged so they go up in fifths and down in fourths (musical intervals) and middle C was marked with a little hollow in the center of the button. Four buttons up was marked either with another hollow or had a bump on it as was the corresponding button below middle C. So does a blind pianist have his keyboard marked in a similar fashion?

The reason I didn’t enjoy the concert was too much of the program was blues and not the songs of Ray Charles that I like. The performer did not articulate his words so a lot of it just sounded like jazzy noise to me. His back-up singers were very good. The Symphony which is just back from their European tour added a great deal to the music.  When he finally sang the Ray Charles songs I wanted to hear, he was very good. Those were enunciated so you could understand every word.  I was disappointed that he didn’t do “America the Beautiful” … until he did an encore. I had waited all evening to hear that.

Adding to my discomfort at this concert was the behavior of the woman in the seat in front of me. She was dressed more like a street person than someone attending a concert at the Symphony. Her hair was twisted up in a tiny knot on top of her head and she kept scratching it. Even more disturbing, she had a terrible cough. She’d cough and cough and then walk out for a short while. Back she’d come and the coughing would start up again. The woman in front of her offered her a cough drop and she rudely told the woman to leave her alone. At one point, one of the ushers came over and spoke to her. I think he might have threatened to eject her because the coughing calmed down after that. Her behavior was so off the wall that the people sitting in the same row with her and the people in the row in front of her moved as far away as they could from her.

All in all, it did not add up to a good concert experience.

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