Learning a Song or: "What Happens When It Finally Clicks!"

February 20, 2018

What do I know? That is the question that has crossed my mind every month for the past two years that I served as the President of our club. Don't get me wrong or take that question the wrong way because I have oodles of self-confidence. But, I am relatively new to this whole music thing.

 

Although I am rather shaky at informing you about music, I can tell you what I have learned. I can share with you what I have experienced on this "voyage of discovery". I can remind you what it is like to catch on for the first time some joyful nuance of music theory.

 

And so, it goes. After the Warm-Up Picnic, I asked my music teacher to find me something challenging. I wanted a difficult piece; something to stretch my musical chops. She did.

 

At my next lesson Erin handed me "Kid on the Mountain". It was all in notation and it is written in 9/8 time. It has five full lines or phrases and each line is repeated. It does not resolve at the end, so a person could just continue to play it forever unless one "adds a resolve" which was also part of the lesson.

 

Now, I must say to her credit she got me started by quickly sketching out the first two lines in tab, but the rest was left in notation for me to decipher.

 

I now have it pretty much memorized and hardly look at the music.

 

But something was missing. I knew something was missing not just because she said so but mainly because it did not "feel right to me". I think you know what I mean.

 

One can play all the notes with all the right counting but if the accent is not right, the song will not sound right.

 

What I have discovered is that there comes a point when if a person practices a song long enough they eventually "own" it. It becomes part of them. When one sits down to play, it is that song that comes out. It does not just sound like it is supposed to sound; it sounds with flavor and feeling. Does that mean I always play it now perfectly? No.

 

But, at some point recently all the long string of disconnected notes and rests connected, and I felt it. I started to own it.

 

I think that's cool!

 

Gary Bell, VP

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