Friday, November 22, 2013

Tonal Refraction Unearths What Gets Trained Out of Us

Wanting to be good enough is a desire I shared with many of my contemporaries, growing up in Chicago.  It was not as though what I wanted was to excel, far from it; awareness of the gulf between myself and mastery precluded any such goal.  And it is not as though that desire was ever talked about, under any circumstances.

It wasn't until after I left Chicago that I became aware of the role that competition played in learning music.  I had never had to compete for any of the paid or unpaid musical jobs I had as a high school student--there simply was no competition.

But competition definitely played a role in my opting out of conventional piano training in favor of studying the organ.  College at Oberlin was definitely a competitive environment; one heard the "top" students of the "top" teachers perform regularly.  I had no desire to be among them.

I had every desire to pursue my ideal piano dream but to do so in secret, without having to pretend to compromise any of its terms or their intensity.

Those terms turned into Tonal Refraction, my visualization work that objectifies the power of the highly individualized terms in which we all experience tone.

It is rare to hear a performance in which that secret place is in any way relevant.