". . . The music asks you to engage. The music is an activity more than an entertainment, and you engage in it physically, you and your instrument and your fellow musicians. Or you can do without the fellow musicians. To play by yourself, alone in a room with a music stand, or without the music stand, is good enough. If you study Bach with sufficient ardor, instrument in hand, you ought to be able to discover that, at moments, you and Bach have merged. You ought to discover that Bach’s inquiries into mathematical figures are your own inquiries, and Bach’s ecstasies are yours, as well. Bach was a genius, and you, too, are a genius, when you perform his work—even if some person listening to you trample clumsily over the score may conclude that you are an oaf. Your purpose in playing is not to impress anyone else, though, nor to entertain. . . ."
". . . In the world of music, I dwell anywhere I want to dwell. Music has liberated me from the iron bars of our present moment"
This is part of Paul Berman's excellent response to Mark Oppenheimer's offensive article in the New Republic in which he explains why parents should not force their children to learn to play an instrument.