I am happily drowning in music.
In between my gloriously ordinary life of buying groceries, cooking breakfasts and dinners and doing laundry, there is practise, practise, practise! Plus three-hour rehearsals three times a week, plus planning and conducting my piano lessons.
I have a gig with Jeff Usher in October at Kaiyar, a private residence. Jeff will be the night’s pianist while I’ll be singing and playing melodica. That’s right! Melodica! I’m gonna play my beautiful baby at this gig!
We want to play a few songs we love which are not the usual ones for a general audience; right now I’m taking a look at Joy Spring (Clifford Brown), My Little Suede Shoes and Yardbird Suite (Charlie Parker), Waltz for Debby (Bill Evans) and Spain (Chick Corea). All on melodica! How awesome is that?
I have never played a Parker song before, and can only even consider it because trusty Jeff will hold the solos on piano. I’m embarrassed to even mention myself in the same sentence as Bird. Jeff is all about those Clifford Brown chromatic harmonies and he’s mad about Bill Evans too. Actually, Jeff and I really do sing from the same hymn sheet in some ways.
Elsewhere, playing for the Sunnybank Theatre Group is wonderfully gruelling! After a couple of weeks of rehearsals I’m finally starting to feel under control. I’m now attempting to play what’s actually written in the score rather than desperately chasing chords just to survive.
I feel so alive as I practise furiously to learn new songs! It really doesn’t matter what kind of music it is, the number of beautiful songs out there is limitless. Music is really some kind of miracle. I guess people feel this way about the arts which move them. The team at Sunnybank Theatre put out at least one and sometimes two productions a year. They voluntarily come together year after year and work so hard — after office hours — to bring a show to life; it’s an honour to witness.
As far as my piano teaching is concerned, I can see now that it really is possible to make a living through teaching piano, and without having to work 60 hours a week, which I dreaded would be my reality. I am quietly walking on a cloud of happiness! As Roger Wang said recently: “Who said music cannot Cari Makan? (Means roughly ‘make enough to eat’.)”
My young students often wind me up, and I take that to mean they feel comfortable. Anyway, they manage to learn, we laugh and get the job done together. Soon, I expect to make a video of two pairs of little hands playing a duet, the lyrics of which were written by 7-year old Jessica, called Ice Cream Man.
The musical adventure continues!