Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Music for Two

Sometime in the last 48 hours, an insidious and vicious bug set up camp with about a hundred calvary deep in my sinus cavity. I know not from whence it came, I just know I've been damn miserable. Tonight seems to be going a little better. That might be the mulled wine, I'm not sure.

What I hate most about not feeling well is that it's a time sucker. When I'm sick, I'm not 100 percent "there" for my kids or for anyone else, for that matter. It dawned on me at one point today that, wow, this is what some people feel like all the time....either because of allergies, or, because they're just in a constant fog.

We had kind of expected to spend part of the evening reliving the events of six years ago, but by the time we'd eaten and showered and retrieved kids from cross country meets, those moments had passed and actually the fog had begun to lift a little. During one particular moment of nasal and mental clarity, I decided to dig out my Bach Inventions and just spend some time playing piano while the kids hung out with me. I couldn't find the book I needed but meanwhile my daughter decided she wanted a little piano lesson. She asked me to show her a scale. She was quite determined to learn it and do it correctly. I was quite amazed at how easily the teaching tools came to me and how readily she accepted my guidance. We crawled up and down the keyboard together, over and over, she on my lap and both of us chanting, "One, two, three, one, two, three, four" and so on, until she was practicing on her own.

I explained that it might feel funny to learn these patterns, but that you need to know them so that when you are learning a new piece of music you don't have to figure out how to manage all the notes. There is a method to moving up and down the keyboard just as there is to moving along a fretted instrument; my fingering for mando and guitar still leave a lot to be desired and I find myself "cheating" way more than I should.

Anyway, having that time together with my daughter was a real healing gift out of nowhere, a much better surprise than this cold. Making music is such a great feeling; seeing a spark in my daughter was better than any antibiotic my doctor might have prescribed had she returned any of my phone calls today.

I was really in the mood this evening to play those old intricate 18th century exercises. I love Bach. My finger substitutions for these pieces once drew the observation from a teacher that I must have been an organist in a past life because they were nutty but they worked.
Here for you is a real pair. Banjo player Bela Fleck and bassist Edgar Meyer have a new collaborative effort out, called Music for Two. These two extraordinary musicians bring their talent for selecting and performing music from all generations in rare and unusual instrumentation. Here is Bach's Prelude No. 24 from the popular exercise book, The Well-Tempered Clavier. Since I have two copies of that, I suppose I don't have an excuse not to play Bach.
Tomorrow. After I quit blowing my nose.


At September 12, 2007 6:05 PM, Anonymous human being said...

You are a fine teacher! great choice! Much better than wallowing in the negativity of 6 years ago.

It still puzzles me why people would cling to that, yet they care not for the ongoing death, injury and destruction that goes on all around the world every day! Lots of it perpetuated by the son of the man with the KINDER GENTLER MACHINE GUN HAND! the pres of us!

Should we be mourning every day, if we mourn on 911?

Is it just us, are those that were bombed on 911 so special that they deserve so much recognition, yet the killing that goes on right now, today is good, is actually meaningless? Aren't those people "over there" the same people that are "over here"?

Or are they aliens from another world, inhuman that do not suffer when their fathers die, their mothers and sisters are raped, their land raped, their houses destroyed, their children left legless from walking on a land mine planted by the us?

- from a human being of the planet Earth

At September 12, 2007 6:31 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Good point...I think it's important to remember the good things that happened that day, the way ordinary and not so ordinary people saved lives. For a moment, we were actually helping one another.

Imagine a United States in which it didn't take a terrorist attack for people to treat each other with kindness, dignity, concern, compassion, and respect.

Not holding my breath,

At September 13, 2007 6:38 AM, Blogger Blueberry said...

Hope you're feeling better soon!

At September 13, 2007 9:47 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Thanks Blueberry! I sorta have this deep voice thing going on right now, but at least my eyes and nose have stopped watering. Oy but I was SUCH a MESS and on the New Year, ach!

I hope you are doing well...tomorrow is Friday, I'm sure you have some good gigs lined up for the weekend!



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