Saturday, January 2, 2010

Music + Son + Dad=Victory(1)

There are many times in your life as a parent when your kids will absolutely make you as proud as one can be. Moments that send chills up and down your spine and moisture to your eyes, as you experience the joy of watching your offspring have success.

My son recently decided to perform a marimba solo for the annual Solo and Ensemble Festival. While I was proud of his desire to perform for a rating in front of a musical judge, I was drawing a blank when it came to choosing music.

We looked through scores (no pun intended!) of books, read through many pieces that I had played in the past, and browsed through the inventories of a few stores. Irrespective of the time that we had logged in the quest to select a perfect piece for his performance, nothing jumped out at us.

Then ..... it hit me! I thought about taking a piece that I had written while he was in his mother’s tummy back in 1993, re-writing it for marimba, and condensing the orchestral parts into a piano part with which I would accompany his solo. I tested the idea on my son and …. HE LOVED IT!

So, after firing up “Finale”, my computer based music-writing program, I re-wrote the solo music for marimba and transcribed all accompaniment parts into one piano part. I even created and inserted an unaccompanied cadenza into the piece, so that he would be more prominently featured during the performance. I then made a recording of the piece and piano part, so that my son could engage in serious and meaningful practicing even while I was not at home.

At first, the piece seemed a bit daunting, as it featured changing time signatures (including 7/8, 4/4, and 3/4), changing tempos from very slow and dramatic to lightening fast with many 16th notes, and substantial and sudden shifts in dynamics.However, my son attacked the piece with all of the gusto and fortitude of a proven pro!

(So, how did he do? Well, tune in next week for the exciting conclusion!!)

Paul W. Reeves

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