“I cautiously pulled back the purple curtain. Immediately, a small huddle of men blocked my way. They were three versions of intimidation: slicked-back hair, black suits, skinny ties over dark colored shirts. I actually had to stifle the words, ‘Are you guys goons?’ They reeked of cigarette smoke and strong cologne. When one of them asked me what I wanted, ‘You need some-m lady?’ I told him I was just looking around. He grunted and signaled to his friends to relax. Then I heard his velvety voice.”
Excerpt from Life in Miniatures: a view from the piano bench. This took place after I played a recital in Carnegie Recital Hall, the intimate hall attached to Carnegie. The velvety voice belonged to Frank Sinatra. Those were the days, my friends.
“Tears spilled from my eyes and I felt my hands unclench. For the first time in my adult life, I consciously felt the tug on the gossamer-like thread that tethers nature to music–and to my soul. I learned that listening reaches deeper than merely hearing.” Carol Rich, excerpt from Life in Miniatures: a view from the piano bench.
I’d love to hear your experiences of “waking up” to truly listening. Of course, when we play the piano or any musical instrument, we hear sound. We know we’re creating that sound. But what about the deep realization, a conscious listening, that brings us to a committed ownership of what we’re producing in real time? Simultaneous awareness of what you just played connects through a fleeting present to what you’re about to play. How does that awareness allow you to hear the reality of your legato, dynamics, phrasing, articulations, tone, and musical character? Does it affect how you hear water gurgling over the rocks and wind cascading through the forest?