At age 16 I first sat down in front of a piano and press down on her keys. Like a bolt of lightning to the brain, I was energized to level I had never felt before. I instantly knew that I must continue down this (long) road, for my destiny was here. Some forty years later, with lots of starts and stops, projects that sometimes yielded little, endless hours of inventing, perfecting, editing, practicing, studying, trashing…. uh, the single question before me is… Why?
I suppose the most obvious answer is that it simply is the only way I have found to get the music out of my head. Indeed, I can sight several times in my life when I have sat straight up in bed in order to secure a pen and paper, only because my dreams were repeating over and over the very content that I was about to compose. Then later, the rest would come (Make the Bad Man Go Away, Easier Way, etc).
At my current age, I possess a rather large collection of music with significant contributions in almost every genre there is. I have found over the years that the musical idea is shared across time. So many musicians out of true respect learn music by mimicking their most beloved artist. The influence is embedded and with luck something is added. Rarely, have we seen significant bold new ideas come forth. If you look close, you will find influence.
I used to practice the idea of listening to music I liked with very loud and disruptive noises (like my vacuum cleaner) to block more than 75-80% of the true song. With this freedom, I could hear something else, something different, perhaps something new.
Paul McCartney said that a song can come in one note. I believe that. It has happened to me. Verdana, a witty little ditty with a surprise ending was composed in all of eight minutes. I could not write fast enough, for fear of losing the whole idea. And yes, that has happened too many times too!
Some people believe that music came before language and I believe that too. The act of love shared between one and another, doting over them is a sensation that we all crave from time to time. But how could one possibly be able to provide so much care and consideration to more than one individual at a time? And then… a whistle, perhaps nothing more than a single vocal note (at first) that brought pleasure to the listener’s ear and confidence to the source. What is this sound? See how it attracts us to it. It is stuck in our ears and we want more! From a whistle to a vocal melodic change and suddenly so many are near. The right brain side is truly relishing in the zen moment of the “now” with so many near and wanting more! Only later, would jealous others learn to imitate for their own personal gain. Ah, how pragmatic, how left brain… and now language is born. Perhaps, the last chance for the right brain to ever have a foothold in our world all these centuries later… Eat your pudding, pay your taxes, go to bed!
So what’s in my mind today? I think it is the birth of a new song or maybe it was something I heard in a taxi cab last week. Don’t know for sure. But I should go home right now and fire up the vacuum cleaner and see!