New Year Letter, Part I: Music

Last summer, one of the cats peed on my Yamaha P-85 digital piano, shorting several circuits. I had to take it to Lafayette Music for repair; they had to order parts from Japan. The A/Bflat and Eflat-E pairs are still not working properly.

Meanwhile, I have taken up the violin. OK, I can hear you now, but listen: LSUE’s Continuing Ed offered a six-week fiddle class last spring. Cajun music is an authentic folk culture, and the players are way cool. (Although the instructor is from New York, he plays with Harry and Lisa Trahan’s Father-Daughter Band at the Eunice Liberty Theater, whose “Rendez-vous des Cajuns” Saturday night radio show is broadcast on KRVS-FM and streamed worldwide.) After the class, I decided that since I hadn’t found a piano teacher here I would take violin lessons to keep my hand in.  There’s a community symphony which Nancy Simon, my world-famous teacher, directs; she MADE me join it as a condition for taking me as a new student.

Well. Nancy says I’m making rapid progress. The orchestra is fun but way past my skill level, so I’m faking my way through the rehearsals. We’re playing simple arrangements of some classical music this year, no pops (yay!): two Beethoven symphonic excerpts, Amadeus, Dvorak’s American Suite, Saint-Saens’s “March of the Lions” from Carnival of the Animals, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Rossini, etc. Expect much improvement for the concert in mid-April, also at the Liberty Theater.

A friend here started taking piano lessons this year and bought a baby grand piano, so we’re playing together to amuse ourselves. She’s a real beginner (no previous training or experience), so she asks me seemingly easy questions about music theory (“What makes a minor scale?”). In December we met to play Christmas songs; we’re now working on “What Child Is This?,” which in non-holiday months of the year can be enjoyed as “Greensleeves.” Next up: gigs at street festivals and senior centers?

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