This morning, I turned on the radio and heard a bit of the sports call-in show. Super Bowl 52 (American football) was played last night, and people were calling in to discuss last night’s thrilling game in which the Philadelphia Eagles prevailed against the favored New England Patriots.
The callers were amazing! They knew every detail about the game, the players, and all the backstories and strategies.
They’d say things like:
“I couldn’t believe that the Eagles’ receiver decided to step out of bounds on that play! Surely he was aware that if he stayed in bounds, the clock would have kept running which would have forced the Patriots to use their final time out and Tom Brady might not have even gotten the ball back at all!”
“The Eagles disoriented the Patriots right from the very beginning of the game, by repeatedly throwing the ball instead of rushing like the Patriots’ defense was expecting. The Patriots never recovered.”
I enjoyed hearing the passion, intellectual curiosity, and “domain knowledge” that the callers displayed. (I myself played football as a kid and enjoy watching the games, but I don’t know anywhere near as much about the sport these days that these callers do.)
The whole thing made me think deeply about our relationship with music. Do we, as musicians, display the same amount of passion and enthusiasm while discussing the finer points of the music we love?
“Wow! Did you hear how swinging that rhythm that Wynton Kelly just played behind John Coltrane on “Freddie Freeloader! He’s comping totally differently than Bill Evans does on “So What, even though they were recorded at the same session.”
“Isn’t it amazing that Chuck Leavell has been with the Rolling Stones all these years? Far longer than any of their legendary pianists of the past!”
“I love how Mozart varies the harmony on every repeat of the main theme in his late Rondo in A minor. Why haven’t I played this piece before???!!!”
That’s what we pianists need to do more of! Enthusiastically analyze music and talk about it with our friends, just like sports fans do. Now that’s a radio show I’d love to listen to on Monday mornings!!!