Some might think I’m crazy, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a waste of money to buy a recorded performance of 4’33”. There are often interesting things that you can pick out of “the silence,” so long as the recording is of decent quality.
With that said… I think it’d be far more rewarding for people to perform it themselves. Grab a stopwatch and stand somewhere and just listen to the world spinning beneath your feet. I imagine it’s a lot like meditation, but rather than looking inward you are intensely focusing on the noises that the world around you is making.
We’ve just passed the 10 year anniversary of my senior recital for my bachelors degree in K-12 Music Education.
10 years ago I performed John Cage’s 4’33” on stage in front of my family, friends, peers, and professors. 9 out of 10 of them had no idea what the hell was happening. I’m still proud of this performance.
A few thoughts:
- My favorite thing about this video is the quiet little voice of my then-3 year old niece. “What is he doing?” It was the only moment where I lost my composure and let out a smile.
- I wish someone who cared about me back then would’ve told me to cut my hair. I had long hair for a long time. Too long for too long. This was my poofy-curls stage. Also, terrible glasses. Also, fully buttoned-up shirt with no tie?!
- Muted trumpet for the 2nd Movement = The best idea I’ve ever had.