Musical Kairos

Timing is everything. Sometimes, that isn’t always taken advantage of. I can remember distinctly during a piano competition how in the moment I was. The notes engulfed me and all I could hear and see was music. The tones and sounds of the piano took my soul and let it lie happily buoyant as it floated along the phrases and singing melodies. Everything seemed to be going just the way I wanted, the hands landed in the right places after a large jump, the notes came out smoothly, and I was lost in musical heaven. And then I was taken away, kidnapped from the clouds of blissful pitches. “You can stop. Time up.” Oh hell no.  How dare that little competition proctor tell me that my time was up. I was in the middle of a dream, where my worries were for once completely washed away, where the anxiety that always tended to slip into my fingers, making them numb and cold, vanished. And she ended that. Poor kairos? Yes. Completely, 100% yes. Okay, sure I admit, there was a time limit and I was aware of it. But it isn’t about fitting into that time limit; it’s about the way you fill that time. Do you fill it up with loud, banging noises or sound that sings, produces tears to the eyes, and chills over the body? No one is at fault here. This incident was merely an event where kairos was not on my side. Timing worked well in my playing; rhythms and tempos were all in check. Kairos, however, ended that moment that I will always have engrained in my mind, a moment that is unerasable. Having bad kairos didn’t hurt me in the long run that day, but one cannot deny the pain it causes if it isn’t used well in a stressful time. For example, mentioning an insult targeted at a specific group without knowing that the target is right in front of you creates tension and potentially hatred that ruins relationships. Thankfully, this moment of kairos fail didn’t have that impact, and didn’t really impact the outcomes at all. It did however chop up that time I lived in that music, breathed it, felt it, cried it, and enjoyed it.

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2 Responses to Musical Kairos

  1. Amy Ketcham says:

    Isn’t that the worst? You are having an emotional moment and people who are clearing not understanding the emotional importance of the moment interrupt. I believe that is why kairos cannot prevail in these situations; people are just not sharing or connected in those moments, which in this situation is ridiculous. Everyone who has half a brain can at least recognize the emotional abilities it takes to spill your heart out on a piano. By the way, I would like to say that I truly enjoy your abilities to describe a situation; they are truly noteworthy. Just letting you know.

  2. Matt Swatski says:

    When I read this, I actually got angry at the person who stopped you. I had this desire to slap the person to let you continue playing. You described the scene so well, that it made me feel like I was playing the piano. Kairos is not just a rhetorical device, but a state of being. You feel like you are “in the zone”. If I’m being really productive, in a good mood, or listening to good music, I feel that I’m in this same state of kairos. Unfortunately, kairos, by its very nature, has to end. If you were in a constant state of bliss, then it wouldn’t be bliss anymore right? It would just be the normal, albeit awesome, life of Sarah.

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