Music is an end in and of itself. I have briefly considered this in other contexts, but this gentle truth brushed itself against my heart today while watching my daughter and others perform in a great Williamson County (TN) arts camp called “Kids on Stage.”

One of the classes offered during the camp was African drumming. As I relaxed in a chair within the spacious gymnasium at a public school, I became lost in the rhythm and cadence of the performers. Nothing else mattered for a few minutes; the musicianship had eclipsed everything else. I began to think of what a nice departure this was from my weekdays’ corporate grind, where all that matters is what can be measured and improved and distilled into profits and customer service ratings. The music simply was; it was non-evaluative nor quantitative, but simply a multi-faceted expression of human creativity and a celebration of togetherness.

This epiphany is particularly pronounced in non-vocal performances, such as the drumming I experienced today but notably in jazz and classical music as well (music typically free of the clich

John M. DeMarco is a writer, strategist, and executive coach based in Nashville, Tennessee.