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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Must have Music

For those of you who have read my occasional concert reviews—often as much about the crowd and atmospherics of the experience as a traditional musical review—you probably have wondered whether I have any musical credentials. Well until recently I would say, no, none, nada.

I was in high school orchestra. I played percussion—for me the refuge of a would-be musician without any ability to produce the desired tone. You see, I had plenty of opportunity to play a musical instrument that produced lovely sounds, I just couldn’t do that.

I had piano lessons as a kid. But I hated them. And I can’t carry a tune in a basket if my life depended on it. Nor have I taken any formal musical appreciation classes. By what right do I write about music other people make? 

Well, I do have a lot of experience listening to other people make music as I have musicians in my family. My mother was an accomplished pianist and organ player. And the teacher of those music lessons. I now understand her frustrations with not only my lack of ability but lack of interest in learning to play, given her talent and fierce love of music.

I also have another first degree relative who has always loved not only listening to, but playing, music. My brother and I played together briefly as I was learning percussion and he was working on his guitar playing, having easily moved beyond those mandatory piano lessons to a second-loved instrument.

And my brother now has firmly moved into the composition and musical production arena with the release of an album. You can hear some of the songs he wrote, and performed along with an interview about his musical and creative inspirations at

KRCU, the Cape Girardeau NPR radio station affiliate will be playing the interview on Going Public, the local magazine program, this evening at 5:00 PM Central Time.

The family musical saga continues. One of my sons also plays a variety of instruments, including piano and guitar. So I figure I’m a recessive carrier of the musical gene in our family.

Enjoy your music in whatever form, be it producing or listening.

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