Waiting for the home run

About the relation between music improvisation and sports.

After the concert he told me that he hadn’t understood anything. 

–Really? The connection between the two musicians was incredible.

–For me it was just noise. They sounded uncoordinated in the main part of the concert. 

–Mmmh, in some way you’re right. 

But I loved the concert. Why? Although it’s fun to go to a concert of your favorite band (and know all their songs, sing along with them, and dance to them), there is something magical about improvisation: you never know what could happen in the show. The musicians try to connect with the atmosphere of the place, feeling the people’s mood and empathizing with them.

The first chord is a shot in the dark; it’s an exercise in trial and error. But little by little, the music soars; they enter into a perfect harmony, and generate something unique and hardly repeatable. It’s not like that the whole concert, but when they get it, oh, that feeling catches me. I wanted to explain it to my friend, and so I did:

–It’s like soccer.


–You have a game where players seek to create a strong link between them. They pursue the goal of victory by reinventing themselves in each game: trying new tactics, reacting to the team they face, looking for new chances. You see how the players fail: they lose balls, they do not reach the passes or they do not have precision when shooting. But suddenly, the striker moves intelligently to the band and drags the defender with him. The midfielder takes their place at the edge of the area and another player places a precise ball in front of him; then, a stroke with the precision of a sniper. Goal. The stadium goes crazy. Wonderful. And then the game continues. It has been only one minute out of 90, nevertheless, it has been a nice trade-off. An improvisational concert is not perfect, but it’s alive, and in the moments when there is a goal, the feeling is unique.

–Damn, you’re always talking about soccer. 

–Hahaha, it’s the same with baseball. At this concert, I was enjoying the “sun of the stadium,” the taste of this beer, and waiting for the home run.


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