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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Formative 15: Music

Not a musician, but music is important to me and a significant part of my Bildung.

My father liked classical music and pontificated about it, my mom taught piano, and my sister and daughter are trained classical musicians.

I trained myself in jazz listening. My dad had a few recordings and I would listen to faint traces of KPFA in Berkeley, and one of those hokey "music of your life" stations to get enough big band music. Just because once in a while they would play a real song. It was hard until the mid-70s when my local college station provided me with a steady dose of Coltrane. I thought I knew a lot about jazz but it took me a while to really know anything, as with anything else.

I wasn't into the pop music of my own youth.

Late came salsa and other afro-cuban styles. I reclaimed some of the legacy of my youth and returned to classical music too. Haydn string quartets; a lot of Bach. Morton Feldman. Flamenco. My musical interests are more varied than almost anyone I know, though once again I tend to go narrow and deep rather than wide and shallow.

I've played clarinet, piano, and percussion. I sang in choirs. Now I cannot sing well.


Anonymous said...

I am trying to get up energy for this as it seems it would be interesting, but am having difficulty because I do not want to rehearse again things I already know.

Music, which music, seems quite important, though. Nature also.

Andrew Shields said...

I discovered jazz by being a jazz DJ at KZSU. It helped that the station had a brilliant jazz collection. And it helped that jazz records are so clear about who the sidemen are; I could follow the sidemen's names to more records, and then just pay attention to what I liked.