I started playing the violin at the age of 7. I learned with a violin shaped sponge and cardboard bow from one of those dry cleaner hangers. When I got my first real violin my teacher tuned it for me, of course, she eventually taught me how. She taught me many things over 12 years but the biggest lesson didn't hit me until recently.
Being a member of the human race is like playing in the orchestra. In the orchestra, every member is responsible for bringing their instrument, for learning their lines, their notes, their solos. Then each section of the orchestra is responsible for what they sound like as a whole. The violins work together, the violas work together, the cellos, the bass, the percussion, the brass, they play together the individual music they learned. When you stand back even further there is the whole composition, the masterpiece written by Tchaikovsky, Bach, or Mozart. It has an intended sound, a sound each section of the orchestra and each member of each section are responsible to perform. There are other layers to an orchestra as well, the conductor, the stagehands, the audience, they all play a different role in the performance.
When my violin is out of tune, or I didn't practice my part of the song and played the wrong note. When I fail to show up to lessons or don't learn my part, it's quite possible the orchestra as a whole could cover it up, hide my mistakes. But what happens when my whole section fails to tune their violins or learn the piece? The orchestra wouldn't be able to deliver the song as it was written.
When I see the news, watch the movies, or hear the songs about the state of our World right now what I see is a fragmented orchestra. I hear a lot of different instruments banning together to make their song the louder song. I see a lot of people (much like myself in Highschool) sneaking their instruments into the orchestra room, playing them quietly in the back if they play at all. What I hear is fear. A lot of fear. Like the soundtrack of a horror film.
Maybe humanity hasn't agreed upon a specific song, some of us prefer hard-core-punk to the lullabies of Brahms. I don't think the song is what matters. I think it's the instruments that need to be tuned and practiced. It's me, the individual, that needs to get in tune and practice. That way no matter what song is playing I can show up, I can open my violin case or my heart, and I can jump in where humanity needs me. I don't even have to be perfect, that's the beauty of the orchestra, of humans. When I miss a note or make a mistake, my stand mate's got me, my section, my family, the whole group, we have each other. I am choosing to tune myself to the note of love, of compassion, of enough. I don't know if this is the right note. I do know that I hear other people playing it, and it sounds beautiful to me. Maybe someday we will find a way to play different songs together, like a mash-up of our humanity. Letting each instrument sing out and shine. Letting each human be themselves, an individual, together with other individuals.