Have you ever experienced a moment in your life that something just became so crystal clear?? I have had a few of those in my life. Where a revelation came so strongly that it felt like the sky opened up and angels appeared singing ‘Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh”. You know that moment.
That happens for me most often in music. Especially in writing. The past six months in my life have been devoted to writing down all the music that has been swimming around in my head for the past 50 years of my life. My parents used to put me to sleep to John Phillips Sousa marches. Seriously. They said it was the only music that would ‘calm’ me down as a baby! I think that probably started all of this.
Many moons ago, I had a major ‘ah-ha’ moment. I took classical, traditional piano lessons for most of my life. When I got into high school, I quit lessons. Had no plan to EVER go back to lessons or really even playing again. But then a teacher, June Williams, entered my life. She taught me a love for music and opened the musical horizon for me with music theory. And she also gave me a ‘sky’s the limit’ view of playing any piece of music that had been written. What a huge gift she gave to me!
Fast forward through college and a music degree. I knew chord structure and theory inside and out. On paper, at least. But suddenly I was in a country band with absolutely no idea how to play the crazy looking chord chart in front of me! It was written in a totally different language that almost didn’t even resemble the classical theory I had learned.
One day as I was sitting pouring over the charts, listening to the latest song to learn, the sky opened, angels appeared and ‘Ahhhhhhhhh’… Very suddenly, it all came together. The scales and chords I had studied most of my life and this very different way to approach playing them suddenly came together and became this wonderful new way to experience music for me!
I have spent the last dozens of years visiting with classically trained pianists and helping them to experience that ‘ah-ha’ moment where classical and contemporary meet. The two styles are not really that different. But often, our training gets in the way and stops us from fully grasping the ‘sky’s the limit’ experience that Mrs. Williams introduced me to.
Tell me about an ‘ah-ha’ moment that opened your eyes…