Hoping for the best .

Light and shadows draw us to considered:Memories of light ,like the seeds of watered plants.

When shadows exist,then surely light must be there,we just have to search for it.

So,that old mantra:”There is light at the end of the tunnel”,rings true,it’s oscillates in my brain ,back and forth.

Maybe I’m too optimistic,but I feel that there is always light at the end of the tunnel,I really do.

Tonight,a Facebook friend from my hometown has won a photography competition and it has positively affected me.

So,what do I mean:It’s always better to celebrate the achievements of others,their pluses,their good points,it really is.

Yes,I feel people need to be told that they are intrinsically good,that they can really make a difference if they are given the chance.

So,give people a chance,give them hope,then they might just surprise you.

Thank you .

My sounds tonight!

Outside tonight the birds still sing as if their life depends upon it.That sense of wanting to sing,needing to sing,having to spring is most intriguing.If we think about it,if we had something like that in our life,wouldn’t we be content,at peace ready to put up with any manner of tough stuff just as lng as we had something really meaningful to do or say .
Now,I use the example of birds,because they are often my first physical sound that I hear as I awake.Yep,I’m lucky,very lucky,but that is my authentic life,When I was a child,it was the sound of men leaving for work down the clay pits in Cornwall.Even though they weren’t deliberately noisy,I could hear their hobnail boots clattering on the concrete pavement.You could set your watch my them,and their smokers coughs,their harsh Cornish dialects as the vowels meshed into one homogenous assault on the senses.
Sometimes,as the birds compete with their fellow tree occupants,I wonder wether they sang just as much in Cornwall when I were a child,but the scrapping of those hobnails drowned out their dulcet tones,leaves no me with that industrial,bleak perspective,quite alien to the tourist who frequented the Atlantic hinterland.

To me,I’ve always been profoundly affected my sound ,and sounds of nature or of industry have always fascinated me as they bunch up in my mind,causing an influx of beating noises inside my brain that transfer me to their world so to speak.Yes,my eyes tell me much about my world,but my ears inform me,fill me with insight,my ears are the vehicle that equates true communion wth my mind.My perceptions of audible sounds alert me to where I am ,to where I would like to go to,to where I aspire too.

Just the sound of a vmusic ice conjures up a memory of that person.Why even now,if I were to really concentrate I can hear the voices of the people who have helped me in my life who are long gone now,but I can still hear them.Yes,physically,their bodies deteriorate with age,as we all surely must,but their vocal timbre still exists in that irresistible time capsule of wonderment.It is a wonderful that no to behold the human voice,as it contains the palette of all our lives and we are richer beings through the textures of our voices.

So,now I attend to my feathered friends,I thank them for their concert this evening,and as I do,I spare a thought to those men ,those workers with hands,with muscle,with sweat and tears,those men with their dialecticle Cornish spreading their vocal Faye into the Cornish atmosphere,and I still remember them,and somehow I always will.

My life is not one in pursuit of things,f stuff ,of security,it is in my observances ,my appreciation for organised sounds as I like to call them,for the perception of ideas,and not the accumulation of th nags which I leave to others,and I wish them well.

No,I wish to leave my legacy of observation,my impressions of great music,my family,my pupils,for in them are comrade Ned my treasures .

Thank you birds for these sound textures tonight ,and as darkness descends ,I yearn for your morning song.But thank you Arthur Medlin,Vernon Tamblin,Peter Trenbath,and Frank Pothergary,men hopefully now at rest in their retirement who gave us the coating for our glossy magazines,our domestic face powder,our flat roofs,our slate roofs if our income could stand it,our blue circle cement,our ornamental stone.Yes,all that sturdy,no nonsense stuff that has to be mined from the ground,blasted ,washed,and separated.Thank you for those memories.

Sound muse from tonight.

Atlantic memory.

As the patterns created by the ripples of the sea on the shore of Sandymouth bay settled,I marvelled at the sheer depth and gravity of sound at high tide.Yes,with the winds up,the Atlantic roared,it spoke,it spelled :”I’m powerful,I’m noisey,I’m raging”

This day happened to me a few weeks ago but it came into my mind just now,as I record it as if to remind myself that I was there on that day,that place as it were spoke to me in the metaphysical of its own making.Sandymouth bay is,on the majority of times,a serene place for many a family to visit,to just sit on the foreshore a listen and reflect and bask in its splendour.

However,that day,that tail end of its activity was far different.Arriving at say 5:30 in the evening,you could hear that breathtaking sound way before you saw those high waves,those rollers of the high seas.As you got closer to the mouth,it sucked you in,you just were attracted like a magnetic pole as it were.On that day,the scene was like as if the mouth took on another character ,a different personality.This change interested me ,intrigued me,and I dwelt at the mouth as the high tide did its work on me.I wasn’t afraiad,but I never turned my back on the torrent,thinking that you need all your wits about you when there is a high tide.

When the sound of the Atlantic is like that ,your thoughts are like buzz words,Awesome was one,Stupendous was another,Niagra Falls type sound another.These sounds,punctuated by the waves crashing against the sea acted as a rejuvenated life pamecea to me .Its funny though that it took 3 weeks to come into my acute consciousness,and I often wonder about that.Now,as I’m back in Dorset living some 15 miles from the South coast,I realise that the North coast of Cornwall and Devon offer a special experience to me.

At the time,my mind froze with the sheer magnitude of the mouth that day,but now,in the bungalow that I live on a normal day,that memory has come into my mind.

One composition that tells us so much .

As my pupil grappled through a Debussy piece today,I thought that music at any level requires application.You see,as much as music is subjective in its impressions that it leaves on the hearer,it is also an art that has objective criteria by which it has to be measured.

Debussy ,although belonging to the impressionist period of music,still has a need to be phrased and musically manicured if it is to really reflect the composer’s wishes.Debussy conjures up the full orchestral palette in the piano compositions ,with the full multi octave parts assaulting our sound world.We are left with that wonderful feeling of musical fullness.Yes,Rubato is employed in the phrasing,but never at the expense of musicality.

My polemic to my student today was centred on a performance which was musical from its nucleus and not just notes as a touch typist would tap.Claude Debussy insists that we do his music justice,as nothing but our full attention to these subtle shades of tones will do.

Now,to achieve this takes not only time,but clever time,that full on point concentration.Playing the individual parts before you play the piece hands together can sometimes be an aid to really understanding the work.As this particular piece by Debussy ”

A Fille Aux Cheveux De Lin”, or girl with the flaxen hair has been played by generations now of would be French Impressionist Pianists,so there is a wonderful corpus of interpretations to feed off.Even a cursory examination of these offerings would surely lead us to a more enlightened place.Yes,we must all strive for our own sound,but never at the expense of our musical fathers of yesteryear.

So,I am taken back to those masters ,Solomon,Entremont,Rubinstein,Ogdon,Gilels,Lymphony,and many others from that wonderful pianistic roll of honour.As I was privileged to hear of these greats,I can testify to the fact that we as musicians have such a wonderful heritage that these great musicians have provided us with,that we can,and must ,return to them as we play master like Debussy.

Postscript on my day!

Well,it’s been a day of Beethoven,Mozart,Chopin and Faure.As my musical mind resets to calm,I realise that I’m very lucky.Lucky to have an audience,lucky to have something that I love to do,when so many have to do jobs that they really hate.

My teaching day started with Piano accompaniment ,and ended with Chopin “Fantasies Impromtu”,quite the a magical mix of musical treats,like a well cooked Monk fish,of Dover Sole,yes,I’m a lucky lucky man.

Now,as the sounds die away from ky consiousness for a while,I ruminate on what just y can be had from teaching in the expressive arts,and I’m determined that I will record this Joy on ky blog post now.

Sometimes, and t easy to be negative about our life and our activities ,but I am happy to be involved in music,the arts,and all things cultural .

This is the best way of jobs and I am thankful for it.


Life as the support artist.

As I sit ,with score in one hand,and YouTube music of the Hummel Trumpet concerto in the other,it occurs to me that it can be an odd paradox when your working as a piano accompaniment.For,on the one hand,your central to the performance ,as you play the part of the orchestra,and on the other,you have to be subservient to the soloist who has the main part by definition.Ive played this part since nice I was 11,accompanying my friend at that time,John Hambly as he played his Cornet in a rather dusty and grubby village hall at Fraddon in Cornwall.Those days were far less intense than now musically .

Nowadays,as my pupil prepares for an exam that will have a large affect on the future,it behaves me to support,cajole,and accompany all at the same time.This transference from teacher to life coach has happened seemingly invisibly in teaching.Gone are the days when you could simply ask your pupil by way of address the pleasantries of life,as life is far more complex and requires pastoral skills that eclipse my previous early encounters with pupils young and old.

These are the days of developing listening skills far beyond what I thought I would ever need in those early days of playing at the fea pit halls in Cornwall.Personally,I love the process of teaching,the demands it places,and the rewards that are accrued and I am happy in this state that I find myself in.

So,yes,my hours preparation with this rattle and Hummel as I affectionately call this composer as been a fillet to me.

I hope that everyone can find some joy in their work life today.

Thank you for y ur attention to my muse.


It’s sunny out there today!

Waking up just now,oh at around 5:30, I realised that the light from the bedroom window had suddenly yielded a bright glow that hasn’t been present for a number of days.This allowed a memory shower to indulge my senses ,directing me to childhood days in Cornwall.You see,I remembered ,like so many would have done,the light expanse that greeted me on June mornings that heralded the onset of another summer’s day .This Summer light ,as I like to term it,always beckoned me outside,drew me to the coast,that Cornish hinterland of my childhood.

From those early times,the outside always meant freedom,exclusive access to the coast as it were.Way yes,during the summer it was busy,as folks took a well deserved holiday from their routines in the big towns and cities of Britain in the late 1960s.Although I lived about 10 miles from the coast,at St Coloumb Road,I didn’t feel that I was ever disadvantaged in that way,because I could easily cycle there,or,if I were flushed with money from my organist job,I could take the “Western National ” bus.Those green buses at that time,with their crunchy gears,their diesel smell and cigarette stunners conveyed me to Newquay through Quintrell Downs and St Columb minor.Always,along the route,I would have a piece of music in my head ,something that I was either learning,or just simmering on my back burner as it were.Quite often,with me,at least,it was the imported American music from Detroit that grabbed my attention.So,I felt a draw for TheJackson 5 at that time,Marvin Gaye,Sam Cooke,Otis Redding,and so many others.Although at the time,I knew nothing really about America,and existed in quite a high level of arrogant ignorance ,I soaked up the emotions of the music,but always in my mind as it were.

As I travelled along the road towards the coast ,this music would permeate and percolate into my inner consciousness so to speak.Maybe at that time,I felt a musical dissonance between American soul music,and the training that I was receiving in the Western classical music tradition.Like reading banned books,so to speak,my love of soul music was kept under raps when around my teacher of Piano and organ,and my love of classical music was hidden from my mates on the council estate where I lived.This dissonance,although not unique,was my experience at that time.

So,light outside of myself,like it does for people now,drew me to get up ,to sample the world,to soak up its rays of hope,it was always accompanied with music inside my head .From the age of say 12,I was fascinated by the music of Stevie Wonder and of his living genius.It seemed to me that he was every much a genius to me as Bach was ,and I often found myself playing a prelude and fugue for his yrs,only to then spend a further 3 or 4 working out the music to “Living for  the city” , “Superstition”,”You are the Sunshine of my life”,and so many others.These lyrics affected me ,so to speak,because they defined time and space,and,unlike  harmony ,they made me think of those outside myself who might live in circumstances worse than what I felt mine were.

“His sisters black,but she is sure right pretty” ,”Her skirt is short,but never are they dirty”.

“Living just enough,just enough for the city”.

“He’s almost dead from breathing in air pollution”

“This is the bus for New York City”,I would imagine that the driver would say when I got on,when really he said :”Newquay bus station”

Escaping into these dreams through music was ,for me,away of navigating my life as I saw it,and sitting on that tubular shell at that time,allowed me to do just that.

So,that evocative cocktail of light and sounds,but maybe not the summer sounds of the “official chart” were the mental accouterments of my life at that time.

Now,from just opening my eyes this morning,I had the recollection of that time and felt the need to record them in words.Nowadays,it’s the thing to post every minute of our lives on social media ,so to speak,but ,I know that I could cause you all to die of boredom if I were to do that.

However,one memory can trigger off a whole conversation and I tend to like those first impressions of a morning when I first wake up,as they are sometimes more vivid,active and less sterile.

Well,my mind is still replaying Stevie,Marvin and co,and has,over the years,obsessed about Bach Beethoven, Mozart,Chopin and co,and it stills still well with me.

Nowadays,it’s quite cool for a young person to play the keyboard from a not so peachy background,but back then,the conventions of class,background and housing played a massive part in the society that we lived.

Nowadays,young people fight different battles with their privacy,their acceptance within the group so speak,but their choice of music isn’t ,for them,a clandestine pursuit so to speak that they juggle in their life.

Maybe we expect people to conform to a norm that really isn’t there,and our society nowadays is far less judgemental about issues that they were once totally intolerant about.So,as I conclude this muse that has become a tome in many respects,I feel that light and sounds affect us all in so many different ways.Just like artists who were drawn to Cornwall at the beginning of the 20th century,they came to Newlyn and later to Penzance.Their communities then,formed an artistic centre that would draw people from around the world because of “light”.Nowadays,s,artists are still drawn to light,the metaphysical so to speak,just as musicians are drawn to silence and sound to that interplay,that contract with themselves and the elements.They express themselves to get a reaction,wether good or bad,that isn’t the real purpose.

Now,as I woke up this morning,my awareness of the light was,at first,quite dim until I became totally conscious of it.So ,just like art and music,there is always a surface perception of all forms,but we can’t have depths without surfaces ,can’t we?We all know that some music is very much kitch and some art is just glorified wallpaper ,but it’s purpose shouldn’t be adversely judged if it communicates something to evoke a reaction ,as that is where the wellspring will bubble up from.

So,as you go about your day in all its twists and turns that life invariably throws up,I would like to thank you for reading my words as they came to me on my trip down “Nostalgic way”,not quite a vignaitte,more salt and vinegar.

Music breaks the barriers of division.

It’s a lovely day here in Dorset,and throughout the UK,according to the weather updates,and it is a good feeling when the sun comes out .

If you are a person who instinctively feels better when the sun comes out,then it’s a great day.We can ,when our mood is good,achieve so much more ,put setbacks in perspective,and just be glad that we have life.Today,I am thinking of those families who have lost their precious loved ones in the horrendous terror attacks in our country over the last month.We ,the ones who have a measure of health,should be aware that we can show our appreciation for what we have .

Appreciation is a word that ,as musicians and artists,we use quite often,as it underpins our approach to our artistic expressions.If we are involved in any way in the expressive arts,we have so much to offer others as they try to make sense of tragic things that happen in life,because we open up an emotional dialogue with others,and ourselves to find joy in listening ,in being connected with our creative selves.

So,on this sunny day following the election,we need our creative genes more than ever.We need to enjoy what it can be to be part of our shared human spirit in the artistic pursuits that we all have within us.If you notice that seed in yourself ,or in others,water that artistic seed,or allow it to be watered by your fellow humans .

We need more artists and musicians to lend a neutral conversation to our lives.As the Politicans argue about their positions,we need to unite in our shared humanity and it starts with listening to one another.Music ,u like words,u like political propaganda,doesn’t divide people,listening ,really listening,never does.

So,if you are doing anything this weekend,try ,if possible,to lend an ear to one another,to listen more,and to be less serious about yourselves.

My vote is cast for more music,more art,and more culture.

As this morning forces us through its dim light to wake up,I wonder if our other senses react quite so well as our sight.Really,with me at least,the other sense that quickly becomes more pronounced is my hearing.Yes,I like to think that it is,indeed,acute.Now what I hear is often a mixture of sounds,or should I say sound bites that crop up in the seat of my consciousness.

Music as I know it,is the organised algorithm of these sounds and silences,and lately,I have returned to the Beethoven Violin sonatas that I first heard when I worked in a Record shop in St Austell,Cornwall,nearly 40 years ago.Those days when I could listen to anything I chose,interspersed with prog rock,soul,reggae,jazz and the likes also allowed me to widen my classical journey.

These sonatas,these two giants of the musical palette,the Violin and Piano can sometimes have a fractious relationship.In fact,having played Piano for violinists in exams and concerts,I can say that the personality of the string player and that of the Pianist can sometimes be at odds.However,on this day of all  days,when people go to the polls in this country,I like to think that differences were always put to one side in favour of the music.

To me,Beethoven expresses in truly great music what I just can not even perceive in words,he just taps into something inside of me and exposes it to my self and says:”I know exactly who you are ,I have always known it,yes,you might have your musical muses,wyour brush with frivolity,but ,in the end,you always come back,your always my musical prodigal son so to speak”

Now,Ludwig probably would be far more taciturn than me,far too busy to play with the other boys,so to speak,preferring the woods to soak up their sounds ,their nuanced swaying,rustling in the Germanic winds.

So,yes,I think back in order to move forward.Truly,music does free us all from the tyranny of conscious thought and without it ,we are lesser people ,we are surface people ,we are transient beings in the dark clouds of the misery of desperation .

Music releases us all from the banal ,the futile,the ridiculous fantasy of Orwellien Politics,the dreams of Pseudo leaders and their sometimes fascist bile ,personal attacks,their lack of listening skills.

Music that ethereal art form allows us to feel together,to sit in the concert hall with the whole political spectrum,and yet to feel as one heart beat,one being in appreciation of Karajan,Ashkenazy,Barenboim,Solti,Davis,Ogden,Du Pre,and countless other artists of superlative order that this blog muse could articulate.

So,today,I’m reflecting in my mind on the u its of music ,its real density because it covers all my angles,it just does it,and always will.

I hope it does it for you too.

Will you join me?

Will you join me in:

Thinking before you speak,

    Giving others the respect that they deserve,

          Treating others as you would be treated yourself,

                  Will you join me?
  Because,sometimes it seems others feel that their opinions are the only ones that matter.

Maybe ,that is their fantasy,but do we have to live in their deluded world?

Want to join me in a reality check ?

We all need a bit of reality ,eh!

Peace to you.