As some of you will know, this year, my
eldest son, Ainan, just turned 13, has taken to composing music. He does so,
now, on a daily basis, after coming home from University. He sits at the piano
Sometimes he plays pieces he has already composed – usually recent
ones, sometimes searching for ways to expand them, sometimes just enjoying
them. On other occasions, he invents new compositions, directly on the piano,
tinkering with them, until satisfied. At other times, he plays the music of
others: Bach, Beethoven, Liszt, or music from video games, Bioshock, Portal 2,
or movies, such as the Matrix. It is, however, a very frequent sound in our
household now: Ainan on the piano, at work at something or other.
A couple of evenings ago, I was drowsy
after a long day and half asleep, I heard the most beautiful sound: music I had
never heard before, coming from our piano. I was really quite taken by its
slightly haunting sound.
I woke up, fully and made my way through the
house to Ainan.
“That is beautiful. Really good.” I said,
to him, startling him from his reverie.
He seemed to be not quite fully in my
presence when he caught my gaze. I realized then, that I had interrupted him,
“Carry on.” I urged him. “It was good.”
His hands tracked back to the piano, and
tried a few notes. He didn’t seem to know what to do in that moment.
“Play it again.”, I said, feeling perhaps,
that I had made a mistake.
“I can’t.”, he said, a little sadly. “It
“Did you record it?”
“No. I can’t record everything I do. There is
just too much.”
I understood then, that, if I had not
interrupted him, he would have learnt the piece, by continuing to work on it.
My admiration in the moment, had cost us all, his musical work.
What a pity.
So, a couple of evenings ago, I heard a
piece of music beautiful enough to arouse me from half-sleep, to full
wakefulness; a piece of music that haunted and caught the attention in equal
measure. Yet, now it was lost, because I praised it.
I am coming to think it would be wise if we
could establish a set up that records everything he creates, so that this could
never happen again. I shall look at the options. I would rather not have the
privilege of hearing music that is only ever heard once, in the world. There is
something too sad about that – especially when it was my fault.
Posted by Valentine Cawley
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Labels: child prodigy composer, child prodigy musician, creating music, creative intelligence, impromptu music, improvising music, lost music, music composition, music never to be heard again