T H E O R Y

Cadential musings on life on the upbeat.

On the Downbeat

Music begins on the downbeat.

Having studied the art of conducting, I should know because it is the only count that I could get right. I couldn’t follow my professor as he drew the shape in the air because it was foreign to me. I was utterly lost and I couldn’t explain myself because I hadn’t had enough experience to pinpoint my misunderstanding. So I was left on the downbeat for a long time; in a way, it was my refuge.

Now, things are different. It has been about eight years since my conducting class and I’ve grown a lot. Sometimes it feels like I am catching the beat of life at the right moment. On good days, I’m even on the upbeat. But on most days, I manage only to find the downbeat— my beginning point.

But being down is not the lowest point in life. On the contrary: being down can be the most liberating. It gives you purpose to get back up, ride the two-count, the three-count, and eventually the four-count (a.k.a. the upbeat). The ebb and flow is inevitable, but it’s only after having experienced enough of life that I can truly appreciate its full cycle.

What can I say? I appreciate the downbeat and have learned to embrace it.