American Idol and pizza
This morning I took care of some bureaucratic business before heading to the school to check out the library. International donors have really come through, though occasionally they may have overestimated our needs: our library has a copy of The Romantic Generation by Charles Rosen. I knew people in the Master's of Music program at Juilliard who would have a tough time with this extraordinary, cerebral writer. I was also disturbed by a book haughtily titled "A History of World Music" which featured exactly one chapter about ancient music of China before proceeding to devote the rest of the voluminous tome about classical music from Germany, France, Italy, and a few other European countries.
Slowly I realized that we will need to reinvent music education from the ground up. In music theory, our children will need to make the connection between Afghan and Western modes, learning more thoroughly than most children that minor and major are just two of the old church modes, many of which resembled Afghan modes still in use. They will learn that the violin is a cousin of the rubab. They will learn the Western folk tunes and easy classical pieces I played at a young age alongside selections from the large body of Afghan folk music, which I will need to arrange in order of difficulty.
Browsing in the library is a pleasure. The walls are lined with beautiful wood cabinets many American homeowners would envy. The librarian takes his job seriously, carefully making a note of all the books I borrowed. He treated me with such respect that I felt embarrassed: when he saw me browsing, he quickly grabbed a chair and dusted it off, ashamed that he had done something wrong by not offering me a seat.
Yet I felt that only today did I glimpse how very high the mountain is, and understand so completely that I am at the very bottom. To steel myself for the metaphorical climb ahead, I ordered a pizza. It arrived on time in 20 minutes as promised, and was delicious.