Monday, September 20, 2010

Play a SImple Melody - - - -

Yesterday when playing at the Maine Veterans' Home I realized the audience did not care that I was playing "bubble music" with no fancy frills. I played from E-Z Play books of the '40's, hits from Broadway, waltzes and country tunes. At the end I played a couple of marches and Battle Hymn of the Republic. I enjoyed playing Take Me Out To The Ball Game, Bye Bye Blackbird, I Want A Girl Just Like The Girl That Married Dear Old Dad, Who's Sorry Now?. I didn't have to worry about complicated runs and chords, and I didn't have to think about whether I was pleasing the audience. Their voices behind me as they sang along, their comments like "that's a good one" and "I remember that one" , told me all I needed to know.

The Maine Veterans' Home in Scarborough, one of several in the state, has several wings. The wing I visit on Sundays is the "residential" one. The men and women there need some assistance but are able to take much responsibility themselves. Their meds are managed, but they dress themselves, feed themselves and are mobile with or without assist. SO, when they hear the music they come - some with walkers, some in wheel chairs, some with no mobility aids. Some stay as long as I am there; some wander in and out. I am totally at ease with that. And my playing reflects how much I am enjoying the experience. The EZ-Play books of the Century Series is a library of wonderful familiar tunes. While I work on complicated chord changes and right hand harmony, and tricky little fills and clever endings - and I am not sure they sound any better than the simpler versions - I thoroughly enjoy just kicking back and using all the great features already built into the Lowrey organ. With the push of a button, the wiggle of a foot, the flick of the wrist - a chord change, a right hand harmony, a professional fill, a resounding ending. RELAX AND ENJOY A SIMPLE MELODY. Push a few buttons. Kick a little fill or chord change. Add another man to your orchestra. The possibilities are endless. Have fun.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Til the Clouds Roll By

Have you ever thought about how many different clouds there are? Not the way the eager weather man speaks of "cumulus" and "cirrus", but in the way you look up and see them. They are quite amazing. WHen you look down from a plane, or the top of Mount Washington (the only mountain I have been on top of) they look like solid masses strong enough to walk on.
But from below .....

Today as I drove to Yarmouth to let Nick have a romp, the sky was ominously dark and shortly after leaving the house, I drove into blinding rain. As I drove along, pondering whether to keep going or turn back, I drove out of the rain, and shortly back into another downpour. I might say at this point, Nick knows when we get past Tukey's Bridge we are going to his favorite spot and he settles down quite nicely until we get over the the Yarmouth Boat Yard, which he knows somehow is near our destination. He could probably go there by himself, if dogs were allowed to drive.

ANyway, it was raining a little as we arrived, but Nick was eager to get out. Neither of us will melt - or shrink - so a little rain is o.k., and the clouds passed over and it became quite nice. Except for the drippings off the tall pines which seemed to be more soaking than the actual rain.

Driving home I noticed the variety of clouds was amazing. Some were almost black and so dense they seemed to be in danger of falling - not as rain, but in one awesome blanket which would have covered most of South Portland. But then there were gray clouds, less dense, less threatening. And then there were great fluffy white ones, rimmed in gold from the sun as it headed for the other side of the country. Those white clouds had shapes and forms such as children see when lying in the grass on a summer day. The darker ones were not changing shape and not moving, but as I passed beneath one it blessed me with another drenching.

We went a long time this summer without significant rain, so I will be grateful for the showers that befall " 'Til The CLouds Roll By."

There are a number of songs about clouds. "The Little White Cloud That Cried. " "Cloudy" "Face in the Clouds" "Cloud Nine" "Get Off My Cloud" and a song about clouds called "Sullen Sky" which is about how clouds behave. You will find "The Little White Cloud That Cried" and " 'Til the Clouds Roll By" in Lowrey E-Z Play books, but probably have to hunt for the other on the internet or ask you dealer to get an "instant print out" from a music source. Dealers can now get almost any song in print by going on-line. The nice part of that process is that they can get many different styles - E-Z Play to Pro and you can choose according to your level of ability.

" 'Til the Clouds Roll By" spend time with your music. Play a cloud song - or a rain song. Keep a song in your heart and keep the music playing.