Taking a Break with Music

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This is the last week of the traditional vacation season. I love the terms associated with vacation. To “vacate” means to “get out.”  “Relax” means to “loosen.” We also “take a break,” have “time off,” and “get away.” In all of those words or phrases is the idea of relief from everyday routine, and there are myriad ways to escape quotidian matters.

Travel to far-away places with strange-sounding names or maybe just take a walk around the block, stopping for another cup of coffee and another piece of pie. (By the way, have you ever taken your usual route to work without being in a hurry to get to your job? You’ll probably notice things you’ve never before given yourself time to see.) 

Is there a musical element to your vacations? Music can be the very point of a vacation, perhaps abetted by great scenic beauty in Tanglewood’s Berkshires, Bridgehampton’s beaches or the Aspen Festival’s Rocky Mountains.

But there’s also the idea of simply taking a break from what is musically routine. Do you turn off the classical music and get your motor runnin’ with some classic rock when you get out on the highway? Trade the Beethoven “PastoralSymphony for country music when you go on the road again? 

Here’s another possibility: With music almost inescapable in New York City stores and restaurants, maybe the way you break the routine is with silence -- although John Cage argued, in his famous piece 4:33, that even in silence there is music. 

So, when you want to take a musical break, how do you do it?