Category Archives: Piano

Eddie Harsch & The Soundwaves

One night 6 or 7 years ago there was a blackout in our neighbourhood. We went for a walk in the blackness and enjoyable electricity-less sky. At the bottom of the hill we stopped before a house where there was some slow piano music heard.  Never saw the pianist but could identify with their decision that the black out was a good moment to play.

I was sort of expecting them to reveal themselves and maybe I would play too and we’d make friends down the street. We sat down on the curb listening. In my imagination the pianist was an old woman playing pieces based on long ago memories. We walked home.

A few years later I fell into a conversation with an older woman outside the very house and I took a guess she was the pianist. I told her about there time I heard the piano during the blackout – was it her? That was my son, he is ill but he used to be in a big rock band.

I thought on my street there was only room for one ex member of a big rock band. Which band I asked?  The Black Crowes she answered.



now you take my CD, please

student: here’s my cd. 
instructor: thanks but maybe you should give it to someone else.
student: won’t you take it?
instructor: you can leave it but no guarantee. why don’t you ask (suggests another teacher) instead I bet they would love it.
student: but i want you to hear it.
instructor: to be honest most things I hear I can’t stand.
student: then why do you teach?
instructor: hearing too many cds and not liking so many doesn’t mean I don’t like teaching. 
student: do you like drake?
instructor: drake who?
student: are you serious? 
instructor: maybe you shouldn’t give me your cd. 
student: what kind of music do you like?
instructor: if it blows me away I like it.
student: melody or lyric?
instructor: either or other things…authenticity gets me.
student: you don’t think drake is original?
instructor: maybe he is, I don’t know, my opinion doesn’t matter. 
student: why not?
instructor: it’s subjective. i never liked elton john but someone out there probably played crocodile rock for the first dance at their wedding. but between you and me he’s only about as good as drake. 
student: you’re evil.
instructor: evil’s my middle name.
student: (hands him cd) I’d really feel honoured if you listened to this.
instructor: no no no don’t say that.
student: why not?
instructor: chasing outside acknowledgement is not going to help you. 
student: but you’ve won awards, i see them on your wall.
instructor: well if someone gives you an award sure you can use it to help continue playing the game but when i say beware of outside acknowledgement I’m talking about being submissive to people judging you. don’t waste your time with that. focus at your work instead of imaginary opinions of imaginary people. do you know any of the people on the panels who vote on awards. 
student: no.
instructor: you might be surprised some of them know less about what they’re judging than the people who actually make it. 
student: thanks for the advice I never asked for.
instructor: and if you don’t mind me saying so make sure you avoid the opposite.
student: avoid not winning awards.
instructor: no,  avoid feeling humiliated by a bad published review about you or your work. don’t be fooled into getting down about that. it doesn’t mean anything and neither does getting an award that says you’re the best dressed violinist in the month of june. these things are a game.
student: so how do you make music and not care what people think?
instructor: it’s a secret
student: ya so…
instructor: first you make music, second you don’t care what people think about it, third you make more music again. keep that quiet ok?
student: I’ll try. 

B part

piano student: how do you make a B part?
me: you just do something else but vary it from the A part.
piano student: how do you do that?
me: like this (makes something up)
piano student: how did you do that?
me: I thought about the A part and did something different that didn’t sound like A but was in the same key.
piano student: can you show me that?
me: sure, but you can do it yourself too. do anything.
piano student: no way.
me: yes you can.
piano student: no way.
me: yes you can.
piano student: but you already know how.
me: you just did it.
piano student: what?
saying “no way” was your A part then saying “but you already know how” was your B. They were in the same conversation and you varied it.
piano student: you’re fucking with me
me: you just made a bridge (sings) “you’re fucking with me”
piano student: no way
me: back to A
piano student: can you just show me that B part?
me: can I put this on Facebook?
piano student: no don’t do that
me: why not?
piano student: because I’ll look stupid
me: no you won’t but I won’t say your name
piano student: how many other students do you have
me: 9
piano student: ok