A while back, Art and I had a gig! We played at the annual holiday brunch at the community clubhouse. It was the first time we had played out in a very long time. (Like, decades!) I played piano and Art played acoustic guitar. We were joined by our neighbor, Gary, who plays violin in a local symphony and string quartet, and later (quite spontaneously) by our neighbor, Vib, on his harmonica.
There were around 50 people there of all ages, milling around the clubhouse, eating a potluck brunch, laughing, joking, and wishing each other the joy of the season. As people were streaming in we played quietly in the background, just to help create the holiday mood. (more…)
Music runs in my family. My father, who had written songs during World War II as a POW in Germany, had dismissed the notion of being a professional songwriter after the war as a crazy, impractical idea. He opted instead to partner with his brothers in a home improvement business in order to provide for our family. My mother, who had inherited a beautiful singing voice from my grandmother, loved to sing and made no secret that she was a frustrated Judy Garland.
So it’s not surprising that all my life I wanted to be a musician and I opted in on piano and voice lessons quite early on. But I soon came to realize that my chosen profession was not exactly the most stable one in the world. My father used to quip, “It’s not a profession, it’s a cult.” And for all my mother”s encouragement in general, she lectured us on the vicissitudes of The Biz. Furthermore, surrounded as I was by very talented musicians, it seemed to me that at best, I was mildly gifted. (more…)
Like Doris Day so famously once said, “Que sera sera.” (Well, Doris sang the lyrics. But Ray Evans wrote them. It’s like thinking that Barry Manilow wrote “I Write The Songs”. He didn’t. Bruce Johnston did. I’m a lyricist so . . . but I digress!)
Some time ago when Art and I got our BMI statement, it was (by our standards, anyway), a huge stack of pages, the amount paid to us had gone down by a goodly percentage from the previous quarter. It was puzzling — until we learned that the rules had changed yet again. And of course, not to our advantage. (sigh) (more…)
One of the basic guiding principles of yoga is Saucha. A Sanskrit word, it can be roughly translated as cleanliness. But not just cleanliness of our environment or physical cleanliness, but also cleanliness or purity of the body and mind. (Saucha is one of the Niyamas, which are observances meant to help us to achieve a life of less suffering and ultimately, more joy.)
“What has that got to do with my musical life?” you may well ask. Well, I can only speak for myself and you can tell me if any of this resonates with you. (more…)