May 15, 2016
After spending over 70 years on planet Earth, I find little that moves me to tears. But I recently attended a piano recital to see my granddaughter play and was surprised that I was touched by the other kids playing. This recital was a special moment.
Click to play the music recorded below while you read on. (I was going to make it auto play, but find that aggravating in other sites, so I put the playing control in your hands.)
If you pressed the play icon, the Beatles piece you are hearing was performed by a boy named Levi who was somewhere between 10 and 12 years old. All I could see is his blond curly hair as he sat on the piano. He not only played the piano, but he sang into a microphone. With his lips almost touching the mic, he looked like a 12 year old Randy Newman. The audio is not very good for I recorded it with my cell phone from the back of the room and Levi had trouble keeping his mouth close to the mic while he played the base notes.
What touched me was not necessarily the quality of this performance, or any of the other kids that performed, but rather the expression of their passion for music. I saw Madeleine perform a piece she wrote herself, Noah move his body in beat while playing the Star Wars theme, the tapping foot of Nicholas when he did his own jazzed up version of Lightly Row.
Kids age 10 – 12 do not exude their passion for music, especially at a piano recital. They are normally terrified of missing a note, or forgetting what comes next. They just want to get their playing done quickly and off stage. But, what I saw that Sunday afternoon were a bunch of great kids that love music and they were not ashamed to show it.
My granddaughter’s performance was good. She showed her feel for music when she put in the appropriate pause between notes for effect. She was not in a rush to get the performance done. She wanted you to feel the music, using the silence between notes to instill that touch. If you were not noticing, you may think it was a mistake, but it was deliberate and effective. Who teaches kids to do that? This is special.
A few days later, after I got home, I would catch myself humming Ob-La-di, Ob-La-Da. When I listen to these pieces, it still brings tears to my eyes.
I emailed the teacher thanking her for doing such a great job and wishing her to never stop. Teaching young’ens to play the piano, a number of people can do that. But to teach them to improvise, compose and put a happy Beatles tunes in your head for days, now, that is great!