When my middle daughter was taking an interest in music, I tried to teach her some piano basics, and a bit about music theory. Nothing elaborate. Things like chord patterns that work well, melodic structure, lyric writing.
She dismissed it all. “I know what I want to do, and I don’t need all that stuff.” To me, her playing sounded like she was just picking two keys at a time, stringing pairs of sounds together, vaguely timed against some clock that didn’t exist.
No lyrics. She was a poet, and I guess the lyrics were going to stay in her head, not come out of her mouth.
Fast forward 5 years. I mentioned that, at the time, it sure seemed like all she wanted was to “let her genius flow unhindered” rather than learning a few basics that could turn her meandering into real songs.
She said, “Yeah, I was just being lazy and pretentious. I need all that stuff. Will you teach me now?”
Her lyrics never fail to make me cry or laugh out loud. Her melodies are mature. She’s a decent piano player. And one of the finest singers I’ve ever known.
Lateral arabesque to a location somewhere in my head.
Continue reading “What if I Don’t Want to Play by the Rules?”