Once I finished recording Untrained Melodies, I decided to take piano lessons to better understand the language of music and theory. Not that I’ve never tried to take music lessons, in fact I’ve tried a few times. The first was when I was 5 and my parents decided that studying the Suzuki method would be a good idea because I like to play what I heard (mostly Disney soundtracks). As I understand it, two of the Suzuki people decided that I wasn’t ready for lessons because I just wanted to play what I wanted to play. The same scene played out again in middle school. Then, in high school I took music for credit with a teacher who let me work on my own compositions. It was then that I wrote Celebrate for a friend, and I did play it at a recital! That went well, but I still never really learned to read music and I learned little of theory. Mostly, I just listened to a lot of music and played what I heard by ear.
Fast forward to now when I found Mizue Murakami. I think that I’m ready to learn and she’s just a really fabulous teacher. She started by telling me that I would start in book one so that I could get a solid understanding of the basics. And, thankfully, she also has me working on other pieces that she has written so that I can have a lot of material to work with. Let me just say that reading music is HARD to do, and props to anyone who has learned to play the piano by reading music. That said, it is fun to finally learn words (theory) to describe what I’ve been experiencing with music over the years.
I still prefer to just sit and play whatever I feel and what I’m hearing, but it is also exciting to just sit with a written piece of music and play it like the person who wrote it intended it to be played. This part of my journey is going to be a long slow march I’m sure. Still, it is a beautiful thing to be learning and exploring music from more of an academic perspective and I’m excited to see where it will lead. One thing for sure, when I do a next album it will be in a world beyond untrained melodies.