Monthly Archives: June 2016

Revisiting a master composer.

Yes,the music is still ringing in my ears,the sounds of my youth revisited,

Like the buds of flowers that bloom each year,so my favourite Chopin pieces bloom in my heart.

From an early age,I loved these truly beautiful expressions of musical poems,

To me ,they soothed my soul,they Acted as emotional navigators through stormy seas.

Now today,as I listened to them with Quad like ears,they drew me in that moment,

As if a new moment ,like a musical Renaissance was granted me and gave me a fresh fulfilment.

These peaks in emotion,these heights of listening pleasure surrounded me in a glow of security,

Then,in those moments,I experienced Chopin with a newness ,a rejuvenation,an ecstasy,a wholeness.


“Music Speaks Louder Than Words”!

music speaks louder than words,and its the currency that causes the least offence in my opinion.

sometimes,my words my be clumsy or may appear to be ill chosen,and that has been the case in the past.

with music,the flow of sounds,caccoonned in a shell of shape lends to its structure emotional content,

why,its very formation is,to me,at least,an attraction to folk from around the world.

Wherever you travel in the world,you see evidence of music and musicians,they are a sustaining presense,

My theme that music does speak louder than words is,on the one hand ,a phrase first said to me by my gran as a child,

but its essence lies with the generations of anticuity,our forefathers,sang folk music,they slef entertained,they sang to lift their spirits when they were feeling down.

Nowadays,music still speaks louder than words ,but we need to want that ,and we need to tune out the white noise of chatter,celebrity,and sheer 24. hour new media propaganda that we are comfronted with,

when we do that ,when we let music do it wonderful work,then it truly does speak louder than words.

The Joy in not having all the Answers !

When I was younger,I searched for truth,I read and read,searching,searching,

Now I’m older,I realise that I just don’t have the answers,and I don’t  need them either.

But,and this is the thing,I desperately want to live,want to hear the sound of waves crashing against rocks,

I want to listen to young people as they search for their truth,but I don’t want to use undue I fluence on them.

No,our world has complex problems,it has so much that concerns us profoundly,but it also has so much that is good,

When I observe the good things that our Doctors and nurses,our college workers,our social workers,indeed,so many people do to help mankind,I feel that life is essentially,Good.!

So,after 58 years of life,I don’t know all the answers,my world view appears simplistic,but it’s one that continues to grow in its tolerance of others.From a closed minded perspective of my younger years ,I am allowing time to move me forwards to a less judgemental state.

So,there is life after not knowing,or thinking that you know .

Musical Gifts!

Today,I received a gift,a musical gift,

It came in the form of just a single phrase of music.

To say it made me cry,or I welled up,is,in truth,how it was,

But to place context,it was the Brahms intermezzo in A.

This wonderful piece of music,this romantic gem,came from the fingers of a 17 year old ,

My student who I have invested my vocational time in since she was 5 years of age.

Her performance,although not perfect,showed a sensitivity and a grasp of the time and space,

It was,in that moment,an intimate silence when the work was finished.

So,I turned away,caught up in that moment,arrested by its sheer depth,it’s emotional poetry as it were,

For in that moment,my brain fused with my heart,and I thought that the years since the first tentative lessons were worth it.

This musical gift that came my way wrapped in a teenage modesty,that insecurity that I had once felt myself,once tread emotionally,

For in that time and space that latent energy of that capsule of tears filled by up in my skin bottle,my receptacle of memories.

So,that gift,that time,that presence,that shared emotion was my gift,my real payment.
Thank you.


My first public performance.

Rather like the first record that you ever bought,my first public performance wasn’t a piece of music that I can was a concerto,or a sonata,or a prelude and fugue.No,but it was jolly,and it was in a Major key,but it was about a CAT.

Now,through the years,my relationships with felines have ,to be honest,veered from mutual mistrust,to the point of mild distaste.So then,it has always been rather odd to me that my very first ever piece of music that I was to play would have,as its title “Thomas the Cat”.Yes,that title wasn’t very original,but it said it all about it the piece.As I write it now,some 53 years later,I still remember the melody,i still get it simple form,and it’s simplicity is,like all great music,it’s strength.

This search for simplicity,that musical honesty,in other words,that life honesty,would become part of my DNA,and thus part of my life.As much as I can replay this simple piece in my head,whenever I observe any feline,that tune comes into my head.Now,at this juncture,I perceive a paradox in this tune.To explain,the tune stands in a perfect 5th motif in the key of C major,but,at the same time,captures the essence ,in my opinion,and yes,even now,of a cat.You see perfect intervals are unique in music because unlike every other interval,they remain major when you invert them.It like how we might feel of a given day,even if we might have had something that has been turned upside down in life,that person still remains emeotionally stable.So,just like we say that a cat has nine lives and always lands on its feet,so too this perfect interval remains just that,bright ,solid,no matter how we change it around.

Yesterday,outside my next door neighbours window,I spied a feline called Mary,or,as she is affectionately called in our little community,”Mary the Murderer”.Dont get me wrong,she is a mighty hunter of vermin ,the like of which I have never witnessed,but my Dogs are so much more dependent ,totally unable to survive on their own.

But,Mary took me back to that village hall yesterday some 53 years ago to where it all started for me.My mind then related this concept of musical simplicity to Chopin.Whom I believe,along with many millions of other people,to be the greatest composer for piano ever.So,when I went into the house I wanted to get those sounds out of my head,so to speak.But what did I play,well you’ve got it,I played two pieces,”Thomas the Cat”,   Followed by the Raindrop Prelude,by Chopin.

My favourite ever version of the Raindrop prelude is by Eugeny Kissin,and I have been privileged to have listened to him play that in the company of those who appreciate too the essence of simplicity,and the emotion that it evokes.In that shared listening festival,I am happy.Those two pieces that I played yesterday,although from the opposite ends of the musical spectrum so to speaks,had ,at their core,the essence of “Simplicity”.

Thank you for your attention to my blog,and I am sincerely humbled that many read it and for that I consider myself a lucky lucky man.


“I’m rebuilding ,one brick at a time”!

So,I’ve had a minor op,nothing serious,nothing I can’t cope with,

But got put to sleep,got the self -control button taken away.

It’s been a tad painful,painful like being a featherweight against a middle weight,yep lots of body hurts,

But,I’m ready to get back to my pupils,ready to stop dreaming in my lounge,ready to get back out there.

So,anything changed in the 5 days of my enforced Sebatical?

Well yes,something in Britain changed,someone pulled their hate trigger,someone ,someone,someone.

It’s time to bath people in music,music,music,it’s the only thing I have ,but it’s oh so much better than hate that poisonous bile that infects with its foul smelling canker and destroys lives.

So,I’m going to do just that today,I’m going to do what I do,I am going to love my fellow human,help them as much as I can,

You will do the same,because you don’t hate,you might debate,but you don’t hate,do you?

Thank you,and have a good day.



From the first sight of a wonderful scene from New Zealand,to the sounds of two bird songs,

Reflections play a part in my life,and probably yours too.

My association with them dates back to childhood an the need to imitate sounds that I heard on a jukebox for my sister,

Those needs filled me with contentment and a sense of achievement in myself.

As today reflections play a part in what we observe,what we know of the world,and what we feel about it.

People ,at times,are a reflection of others,and there are always comparisons made between mothers and daughters,fathers and sons.some are helpful,even accurate,others are not so.

On this Father’s Day,I have reflected on what it has meant for me over the last 32years.Id like to think that I’ve done a good job on the whole,and I would say  that my sons are both good people.Yes,they are ,in many ways totally different,and they have followed completely different career paths.

But are they a reflection of me?No,I would say not,although many people have remarked that one of my end is a likeness to me.

Does it matter?Personally as I never knew my father,I never had any comparisons to make,so no it doesn’t.However,I have known those who have struggled to emulate the achievements of their parents,and emotionally,I feel that this could be,and has been a problem.

So,reflections to me are wonderful to observe in nature.Like the beautiful image from New Zealand of the mountain and the lake,and the birds singing just now,but people,no,I don’t think that we should do that to our fellowman.I feel that we should have up individuality,and I guard mine and nurtur it,and respect others too profoundly.

“Loves in need of Love today”!

Life,like the keys of a diatonic scale,has many strands,

People like you and me make up this country be call Britain.

Scale in music and a diatonic one in particular are called Monarchic,

That means,like a Monarchy,some notes take precedent over others.

In a scale,which is how the Western classical music developed its tradition,

We have grown comfortable and we feel that it works.

So,like the scale,in Britain we are comfortable with our system of a constitutional monarchy,because , by and large,it works.

Musicians have always,down through the centuries,played together,their very core has to be one of co-operation,

But,like the scale,they might play the second violin part,of blow a Tuba,or strike the Tubular bells.

Britain and British people are ,from my 58 years of life,a pretty tolerant people,

Our monarch who opened Parliament every year,reside as head,but not as a despot devoid of benevolence.

We have her majesty’s government,and her majesty’s opposition which we accept as a fair system,

Out lawmakers,although not perfect,have been duly elected to represent us and serve us .

They carry out these duties and are re-elected once every 5 years,that is our system,and it is still the envy of numerous other countries,

Sometimes,the audience wish for and enjoy a key change within a piece of music,and that becomes part of the tapestry of sound,

In Britain,we might be drawn to a key change each time an election occurs,we might elect a new administration.

But,when we really think about it,when we dwell on it,then we realise that we are part of the whole in Britain,

We have a sound,a voice,a life as it were,but we are in this piece of music ,this composition,this makeup called Britain.

Now,as far as I can see,I’m like the Tubular Bells,the second violin as it were in my country,and,like you,I accept that,

I know that I can’t be the conductor, the leader,the first violins,the Cellos.

But ,along with you,I can make a contribution to the fabric of Britain playing music,playing my part and having joy in it.

The title of my blog post today is from the title track of the epoch Album by Stevie Wonder,”Songs in the key of Life”,it’s called Love’s in need of love today”.

We all live ,we all have loved ones,no matter what place we have in society,and we all need love,and we need it TODAY!

Thank you .


Thankful for another day!

When the day is ended,when the events recede to nothing,

We take stock,regroup,think about them,and their affect on us.

Chances are,we got through,we navigated ,we compromised,we were surprised and energised,

But no matter what surprises were at our door,there are constants in our lives,emotional fixtures and fittings .

We can somehow cope when we have some of these fixtures and fittings in place,some points of solace,some plaques,

As we place them on our emotional walls,they remind us of who we are,what we are,and how we got to this place.

If we didn’t have any emotional plaques,we would just exist in the material universe cut adrift,without a rudder to steer us into our safe ports,

When we have a safe port for our souls to rest,then we have context for our hopes and dreams.

As everyone needs hopes and dreams to furnish our schemes,we also need people to share them with,to talk to,to be silent with,

So,as this day is almost ended,it’s now  the time when we say ,”We got through,we did what we do”,we hope for that rest to recharge us,but if it escapes us,we have thoughts,positives entwined in a coat of memory of rose scented petals,each telling a fragrant story of the day.

In my case,the smiles of nurses,the care of a cleaner,the consolation of the surgeon,with profound concern of the kindred spirits in our life,why these stamp the day out as worth living,so that we are glad that we are,that we are here on terra ferma ,that to exist is to be,to feel,to think,to love,to as the worthy prince of the bard,”to dream”,!!

For all life has within it some spec of comfort,some molecule of comfort,some plasma of purity,some membrane to protect,some glucose to sustain,some osmotic knowledge by which we say”I’m glad that I soaked up that conversation,those words of advice,those mantras of unity “!

Thankful for another day!

Respecting the ideas of all young people!

There is oh so much joy in conversations with young students.As I mature in age,the temptation to be rigid in my opinions and attitudes is present,however,young people are such a vital antidote to these traits.Yust hearing them express their views ,hearing their ideas,observing just how they think is honestly a wonderful thing to me.

My views on Politics might be quite grounded but I am always learning from others,and having to debate,happy to ask questions,and to answer as well.Whenever, young people talk to me,I am always struck by their sense of justice and fair play,and I am struck by their engagement in the issues that really affect us all.Sometimes as adults,we are apt to be very cynical and judgemental,where as,the young are happy to pull up the ideological carpet as it were,and they get stuck into debate.Granted,many young people are introverted and perhaps lack in the communication skills that we might rake for granted,however,they can learn with the right guidance and encouragemtent,and their contributing to the debate is sorely needed.

Whenever we allow young people license to express ther ideas without prejudice or judgement,we allow them a safe vehicle to express in themselves in an arena that is emotionally safe,condusve to their personal growth.When we listen to their ideas,when we express ourselves,when we compliment them without resorting to Pseudo praise,when we allow authentic Polemic,then those intellectual knowledge seeds will germinate.Yes,as the years go on,those seeds will have to be watered,but every Young person is a seed,and everyone deserves to be watered.

As my teaching day draws to an end,I feel a sense that young people are worthy of out attention,our respect,and our sincere efforts.As teaches,we have that privilege,as parents and carers,we have them as precious ones within our family circle.

Thank you for your attention.