WHICH CAME FIRST? THE PIANO OR THE GUITAR? In my life, the piano came before the guitar. The teacher was my great-aunt- Lu Lu. As she lived directly across the street, the offer of lessons was difficult to refuse. Hence began my formal classical training- at a mere eight years old. At about four months' progress, with the material becoming more challenging, and the major distraction of Elvis Presley and the guitar Dad brought home one day- I quit the lessons.
Strumming a few chords on the guitar while singing songs became a favorite hobby which has endured to this present day. Later on, after taking a few guitar lessons, it seemed a much more difficult instrument to master than the piano. With the piano, the keys you strike are all out in front of you, and you can use all your fingers on both hands! Nonetheless, guitar strumming while singing provided the path of least resistance, and was a lot of fun, and still is!
In junior high, I decided to take another shot at piano lessons, but became quickly disenchanted with the teachers' and the infantile materials presented, coupled with no real sense or reason for what I was supposed to be learning. The whole matter ultimately became disgusting, but was a big failure to live with. How many people have you talked to in your life that told a similar story? Of course each persons' situation was unique, but with one thing in common- they all quit!
My musical salvation came in the form of a completely different kind of teacher. Eddie Brackett was 80 years old and had played ragtime in the silent movie theaters, and within four lessons, presented the basic skeletal structure of music, which allowed me to continue with new-found enthusiasm and confidence! Now I was no longer at the mercy of classical teachers, and could go forward, knowing what to practice and why, motivated by my own self-generated desire to improve.
By the end of high school I'd discovered jazz, and continued to play piano and strum the guitar as a hobby until I turned 35. I'd decided then to pursue playing piano professionally, and succeeded, relying on those fantastic lessons taught by Mr. Brackett. People used to tell me I'd make a great teacher, but I had too many other interests, and no desire to conform to a curriculum. I was always open to teaching music, but continually assigned the idea to some distant point in the future. Well the future has arrived!
My self-written teaching manual is complete and at the moment, divided into four lessons. The material in BASIC MUSIC THEORY is compiled from my studies, from the beginning to the present. Lessons have begun, and are progressing very smoothly. Perhaps you have always wanted to play the piano, started and quit, or know someone that has expressed the desire. Should you want to schedule a private lesson, please email me at email@example.com. When you have an inspiring teacher, it truly is a "Joy to Play."
All Mixed Up Defined Ok, which is it, am I serious or am I joking? A girlfriend from the past once informed me that “one was most serious when one was joking.” Boy that will sure sober you up fast! Nonetheless, there’s more than a mere kernel of truth in her comment, since humor seems to spill into a lot of diverse crevices and cracks. Born in 1948, I was glued to the television during most of my free time. The shows were fantastic, including Pinky Lee, Howdy Doody, Abbott & Costello, Jerry Lewis, Soupy Sales, Art Linkletter, Captain Bill, Sheriff John, and on and on. And these were just the comedians. Pretty much, everything was funny- at least on TV, it was. Can’t prove it, but in my mind, there’s no question that all of this hypnotic programming from the television, fused with my mental inclinations. This predisposition will probably carry forward until my death. Oh, I forgot to mention Clarabelle, the clown and Captain Kangaroo. In fact, it seemed as if life was just one big happy joke! I always sang a little bit, here and there, mostly with the guitar as a teenager, but the piano was my main focus. Now having taken a closer listen to my own voice, I realize that pronunciation and phrasing most likely reflect a latent tendency to sound –like somebody else, or create an effect that could be amusing. In re-doing my vocals on the tracks now, I’m smoothing out the delivery, eliminating the affected sections as needed. It’s starting to sound better, and I’m grateful in this instance for the criticism. In describing the scene where I met “Amy”, the person who became the inspiration for “Amy Rose”, I stated that I was playing in a “piano bar.” Somewhat misleading, on that night I was actually sitting in, at the behest of a friend who had the gig. Out of thirty years of playing, the total time I spent performing in a piano bar was about six months. The rest of the time I was always in the dining room, playing for dining customers. You might say I chose the path of least resistance in that my preference was to avoid the piano bar scene altogether. Unlike the piano bar performer, who normally would show up at eight and play until one, all the while managing the electronics, singing, schmoozing the crowd, telling jokes, accommodating drunken wannabe singers, and all kinds of multi-tasking, that quite frankly represented more skill sets than I desired to tackle. By contrast, I chose the finest up-scale restaurants I could find, where normally an existing baby grand lay in wait, requiring only that I walk in at six with a bag of charts, set out a tip jar, skip the singing, but take requests and play through what by my choice were the most popular standards of the American culture from the twenties through the eighties. My style eventually solidified into cocktail-café society with jazz and blues inflections and sensibilities. Usually finished before ten, with tips in the jar from song requests, still got enough sleep to pursue a business career the following day. This was indeed “Piano Heaven.” This type of gig however, has all but vanished from the scene, as the folks who still possessed a love for the “old songs” have rescinded and passed into their own respective happy hunting grounds. If a musician is working solo in today’s world, you can rest assured that he or she is playing over electronic background, providing the pulsing stimulation that is required to satisfy the current generations who have, for the most part, no song recognition, whatsoever. The venue doesn’t even seem to matter; it could be the lowest of dive bars, up to the most opulent fine dining atmospheres. read more- http://stevengeorgesanders.com/blog.php
I used to really like this song by Brook Benton growing up- a nice, easy-flowing tune that simply said "You'll see that you've been blind", and you'll want to come back, etc., etc. time is, after all, a highly-controversial subject. I keep hearing about time-travel on the radio, and beginning to wonder if they've already started doing it and nobody told me yet. the gurus from the workshops all want you to stay in present time, no matter what it takes, because otherwise you're libel to go crazy. The bottom-line here is from the song "Que Sera Sera","the future is not ours' to see."
so if you don't mind, would just like to wish you all good experiences going forward, as we all ride the ship of expectations together- but individually, of course. it is time for many imponderable changes, many of whom, although imagined beforehand, tempt the courage level. This at least for me, is one of the many blessings of music- dealing with "changes" of the chord variety require that i be here now, and to quote Jesus, "Do the thing at hand." Peace and Love- sound trite? Maybe. i don't think so. Lots of that stuff coming your way.