Tag Archives: beethoven

Echoes of Chamber Music

guitar up closeThe mythology goes something like this: when I was three years old, I told my parents I wanted a piano. They may have chuckled, or pet me on the head, I don’t really know, but the upshot was that I was not taken seriously. I mean, why would anyone entrust a toddler with an expensive musical instrument that would test the floor joists? So I asked them again a little while later. And again. Persistence was my modus operandi. When I turned five, I got a Baldwin upright piano from my folks, a chestnut brown instrument with carefully turned legs and brass pedals. My brother David promptly scratched it up with his hair pick, but it almost looked like a whimsical music bar, so I mostly ignored the destruction of the varnish. I practiced with a teacher, mostly by ear, learning boogies and ragtime and all kinds of classical songs with a contemporary piece thrown in here and there. I won an award when I was seven, but I don’t think I was ever much good at playing. I had heart, though.

Over the years I developed an eclectic taste in music, and I still love any artist who can surprise me or do something new. I’m also a big fan of music education because I think it gives young students so much—it’s helpful with math, creativity, developing auditory skills, teamwork, practice, and patience. In a world where mere participation in group activities earns one a blue ribbon (rendering blue ribbons what? a simple color?), learning a piece of music is a rich reward all in itself. I may have gotten away from playing as an adult, but I still have a fondness for the feel of polished keys, and I can still tell if any of an instrument’s 88 keys are off in tone. Read More…

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