I'm a violinist who reads everything! Science fiction opens the mind to possibilities, nonfiction opens the mind to knowledge, and art opens the mind to meaning.
Meaning can be sought and glimpsed through many mediums, each a unique, clouded stained glass window into the soul. Books are wonderful, but music and art can communicate too.
Through the month of July I am studying at a chamber music festival where I am surrounded by this wonderful atmosphere of brilliant, caring professors, motivated students, amazing music, and an idyllic Vermont summer. It has allowed me to reflect on the role music plays in my life. I've concluded that music—not books—is the primary medium through which I derive and communicate meaning.
For my chamber music project, I am composing a piece for violin and voice based on Maya Angelou's poem "Caged Bird." I figured with all the recent news surrounding race-motivated killings, this was an appropriate choice for a text (and it also happens to be one of my personal favorites). As a composer, my function is to communicate ideas through sounds, similarly to how a writer uses words. With music, I can add another dimension of the anguish Angelou conveyed, in the form of sound.
Gustav Mahler said, "Where words fail, music speaks." This is why live performances are so important, because a performer communicates with the audience. (In the classical tradition, the performer relays a message written by the composer and conveys it to the audience, interpreting and translating as they go along.)
The ground is fertile with the language of emotion. Let's not forget the role art and music play in communicating ideas!