So this session we are going to attempt to talk about music – although I’m being very distracted by #1 on “Barely Here’. However I’ll do my best.
N, my organ teacher, continues to focus on the One – not getting distracted by the multiplicity.
For instance at my last lesson:
N: “I know nothing about teaching the organ. My specialty is voice.”
“That’s why you’re such a good teacher for me.”
“Pedagogy vs. the Real thing.”
N: “Exactly. As an excellent organist, I teach you how to play Music, not Notes.”
N: “Get used to playing with the registers.”
And so, of course, my Person got carried away – taking his suggestion to the extreme.”
N: “You’ve ruined the piece! You’ve been playing without practicing. Why?”
“I was just experimenting with the registers – as you instructed me.”
N: “That doesn’t mean to stop working on technique. Otherwise you’re just masturbating – playing for yourself and nobody else.”
“Mix experimentation with diligent practice?”
N: “Always. Otherwise you’ll quickly degenerate to where you were.”
To understand the full significance of this exchange we must air out some of my dirty laundry for the entire world to see.
My life has been devoted to my creations – which I have shared with virtually no one. There are reasons. Most of those who are close to me aren’t interested in my scribblings. And to reach a larger market seems to need more energy than I’m willing to expend. Thus in reality my diverse creations have been a way of amusing myself – a form of classic autism – wiggling fingers before my eyes. And my music has reflected this tendency exactly.
I’ve played all of Bach’s Preludes and Fugues on the organ – for myself only – Masturbation.
If anyone asked to hear them, I would laugh and say ‘No, I don’t know anything well enough to play.’ And I was serious, not just shy - for I had perfected nothing. I just enjoyed working out these magnificent pieces for myself – Masturbation. So whenever I’m not paying attention my tendency is to return to playing rather than really practicing.
Alter ego: “But all practice and no play
Makes Jack grey.
Plus this Jack must play is he is to stay.
To continue to make hay
He must have his say - make his last hooray.
N: “Just don’t forget
Or you’ll certainly lose the bet
And you’ll become lost in regret.
Remember to linger between the poles of rigid, unrelenting technique
Balanced from time to time with wild squawks and squeaks.
Music you need to tweak
So that life doesn’t seem so bleak.
No need to be a geek.”
You can see that dear N has attempted to lead me between the hard wall and the precipice
Easy to lose the bliss in the Abyss when your footing is amiss.
N: “Too rigid – now too loose – as silly as a goose.
Stand up – Sit down – Fight, fight, fight! - What blight!
No need for flight – Just make it right.
Let the music express itself. Step aside and take a ride.
You’ll only get in the way.
Balance work and play. Hey!”
I hope this brief introductory sketch has given you a slight hint into my inner demons and my interaction with my teacher, because that’s all for now.