About Me

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What is one supposed to write here? 
(The time of this posting marks an entire year since the first [terribly amateur post] went up. Happy one-year anniversary, readers! In honor of the milestone, I’ll be writing a special post about a special piece for Thursday, the second in a big whomping series of like five or six piano concertos, since it happens to be time to switch over to piano music for a while.)

I tend to latch on when I find something I really enjoy. That was the case with music. I started in one of those classes where the teacher brings in a lot of different music instruments (mostly percussion) and lets the kids play with them a while, creating a terrible raucous of a noise. This was the  second grade, and somewhere around that point or slightly after, we were all given the choice of instruments. For me, for some reason, it was the clarinet or the saxophone. At the time, it had the closest relation to popular music through its association with jazz. My parents (my whole family, really) love music from the standpoint of listening to really good contemporary stuff, so I grew up listening to what they listened to in high school, everything from southern rock (ZZ Topp, Doobey brothers, ARS, CCR, Bob Segar, and on and on) to Elton John and Billy Joel to stuff that was even before their time like Sinatra and Nat King Cole. I grew up around quite a wide range of what would be considered contemporary or adult rock or pop, and it’s in my blood to be unable not to sing along, even with only a tenuous grasp of the lyrics. That was as far as my musical exposure had gotten. From the standpoint of someone else my age, by middle school, I’d learned to enjoy and appreciate music my peers had never heard. By the same token, though, I didn’t have any older siblings, so I came around much later to enjoying stuff my peers did. One of the first albums I bought that I was blown away by was, of all things, Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, and I came around late to the grunge rock scene (Nirvana, Silverchair, etc.) and never got into some of the music of my generation at all (Metallica, Sublime, Blink 182, and the like). 
All that being said, the sax was the closest thing in my mind to something that had application or association to music I was familiar with. 
Since my parents’ exposure to and interest in music did not go beyond that, neither did mine. Had I had some kind of classical background or foundation, I most assuredly would have chosen
the clarinet or something else (more specifically, something more applicable to classical music). But the saxophone it was, and I stuck with it all the way through high school. We had some meagerly supported music programs in junior high school, the typical issue of tons of clarinets and saxes and trumpets and not a single trombone or tuba in the mix. I remember when someone finally switched to tuba and played with us for the first time and I was blown away at the difference in the sound of the ensemble. Shortly thereafter I started playing tenor sax instead of alto, and baritone in eighth grade. I’d moved to a new school since then, which had an amazing music program that fed into a high school with a superb music program. Moved into high school and stuck with baritone. I’d been kind of removed from anything too technically challenging for a few years as a result and hardly ever practiced because I didn’t ever bring any of those huge instruments home. In my freshman year I also tinkered a bit with bass clarinet and bassoon. 
I auditioned for the highest ensemble in the school and made it (I’m not even sure anyone else tried out), and it was those few years that I was exposed to some of the greatest high school wind band repertoire I know (well, the only stuff I know), and I listened to it nonstop. I became extremely familiar with it backward and forward, but without any score to read. Even after I graduated high school and became an English Major and had completely left behind my brief musical education, it stuck. 
The other significant thread in my musical experience in general was a deep emotional fascination with the piano because of an album (an actual physical CD!) that a classmate lent me on a field trip to a band performance. It was a cold, rainy day, and I was in a bad mood. I’d have been about 13 at the time, and was pondering the end of my seventh grade year, knowing I would be moving away to a new school soon with no one I knew. These were the people I’d grown up with (most of them, along with some people from other elementary schools, and it was with all that churning around that I listened to Tori Amos’ Under the Pink for the first time, almost from beginning to end, looking out a cold, drippy bus window. 
It sounds corny or cliché to say, but it really did change my life. That album blew me away. It was the first thing I hadn’t been exposed to or heard through the radio, and was entirely different from everything I’d heard in a car or at home while my parents cleaned or worked around the house. For some reason or other, I identified with it instantly, and that led to a very long, very intense fascination with her music. I’ve got thousands of tracks, bootlegs, live recordings, and other stuff collected from the past 15 or so years. Seen her live a few times, and generally loved everything she ever sang or wrote or said and could have spent (and occasionally did spend) hours watching videos of concerts or performances on Youtube. She’s a pianist with quite a serious pedigree, but has since left classical behind. She was one of the primary reasons I was fascinated with the piano. 
Jump ahead around 15 years from that first exposure to her music, and I’m living in Asia, and finally decide to take piano lessons. A coworker’s younger cousin is studying at the best music school in the country and decided to take me on as her first student. Along with that endeavor was the desire to be able to know or identify basically everything in the repertoire, and thus began this blog. It began with solo piano music, but quickly expanded to include classical music as a whole. A year after that first post, and around two since my first piano lesson, we’re about 80 pieces of music in, and I have learned a ton and met some cool people and enjoyed a hell of a lot of music. And that’s really just the beginning. 
I’ve started a lot of other projects since then, and hope to finish some others. 

So that’s how it all ended up, just like that, and here we are. 

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