Who inspired you the most to study piano composition?

Posted by: Sandra M

Who inspired you the most to study piano composition? - 01/15/13 07:34 PM

Hello and just wondering who inspired you the most to compose piano music? Sandra M
Posted by: Sand Tiger

Re: Who inspired you the most to study piano composition? - 01/15/13 08:23 PM

I've always wanted to write songs. I asked a friend of mine, who was a concert pianist years ago, for advice. His advice was to listen to as much music as I could. So perhaps he could be considered an inspiration.

There are two separate questions for me. The songwriting part, and the piano part. I've been a songwriter for more than 10 years. One reason is my poor aptitude for sight reading. I found it so frustrating to learn from sheet music, that I mostly wrote my own tunes.

My weakness at sight reading became my strength in writing original music. I can write three to five new pieces in the time it takes me to study and learn one from sheet music. It wasn't always this way. There a long stagnant period of about one new song per year. Then came my participation in an Internet immersion group, 50 songs in 90 days, and I bloomed into a competent songwriter.

I started 11 months ago on piano because of a tablet computer app. I have an Android tablet and I enjoyed poking around on the screen with a piano-style app (similar to the Ipad commercial). Honestly, I thought I would be terrible at piano. I came from a whistle/flute background, so knew nothing about chords. When I was in choir, I always wanted to sing the melody line, so harmony was a distant concept to me. My weakness at sight reading was another potential hurdle. My long term chronic use problems with hands, wrists, shoulders, neck were yet more hurdles.

I surprised myself. I took to piano keyboard. While I'll never approach the chops of my friend, the former concert pianist, I like my own original compositions as much or more as I like his, and he is a decent composer.

Some folks tell me I have a talent for writing music. Yes, there is some talent. However, like a lot of the pianists say on the forum, the main talent might be dedicating myself to the task. For me, songwriting has involved a ton of hours, and a lot of not so great work. That said, it is a labor of love. I sometimes lose myself in the music. Playing live is also a reward, even though there is the occasional crash and burn.

I posted the goal below, on the Achievement of the Week thread and the goals thread (both on ABF) and it is another motivator for me. It is derived from a John Coltrane quote so that counts as another inspiration even though I don't particularly care for his music:

My music is a spiritual expression of who I am
Posted by: Ted

Re: Who inspired you the most to study piano composition? - 01/16/13 12:57 AM

Nobody and nothing inspired me and I have never formally studied it. All I really ever wanted to do at the instrument was create after my own fashion. There have been influences, of course, especially for improvisation, but I think the underlying imperative to create was just there in the brain.
Posted by: Sandra M

Re: Who inspired you the most to study piano composition? - 01/16/13 07:26 AM

Thank you Sand Tiger for your thoughts on who inspired you to write piano music. Thank you for sharing with us. Your post is an inspiration to others to listen to the best music that inspires them. My inspiration was the National Symphony in Constitution Hall many years ago Sand Tiger and others reading this post, Howard Mitchell was the conductor. I was 11 years old my first live NSO concert and went again often with a group from my community. We sat in the balcony and I sat there falling in love with live concert music. From that day onward I longed to play the piano. I finally took lessons in the 60's and I am still learning now from all of you too. I also was in love with Leonard Bernstein while viewing him performing, on TV only, never live to my regret, in the 50's. So I was blessed to be able to hear some of the finest music of my day and that was my inspiration. Sandra M
Posted by: Sandra M

Re: Who inspired you the most to study piano composition? - 01/16/13 07:41 AM

Thank you Ted for your reply and taking the time to share with all of us. Interesting that no one inspired you. My step-father is a retired, Georgetown University genetic research scientist, and he would probably say that you are hardwired from your forefathers etc. Music is the most inherited or one of the most inherited according to research I have read.
A music teacher, concert performer etc, in your family background? Sandra M... Note... My stepfather was 20 years younger than mother, my age, and he is still living. Sandra M
Posted by: rada

Re: Who inspired you the most to study piano composition? - 01/16/13 10:53 AM

I believe I was inspired to ' give it a shot' when I heard snippets of piano music all over....especially on tv...which I don't watch too much. But there are so many commercials that use piano music so I thought what the heck I can do that. I have always loved the piano themes used in movies and have thought I can do that.I am on Pandora if that makes a difference.Well, we'll see on that one but in the meantime I have had fun writing and creating but I think my best pleasure still comes from practicing and learning and thinking about what I will learn next. Very exciting.

rada
Posted by: BeccaBb

Re: Who inspired you the most to study piano composition? - 01/16/13 11:26 AM

My inspiration also comes from somewhere inside me. I just need to create. I've been writing poetry since I was 10, designed my own crochet patterns, learned how to wood burn, made jewelry etc..

To me it's part of breathing. Learning how to create music is no different to me then creating a poem. Just must do!
Posted by: Sandra M

Re: Who inspired you the most to study piano composition? - 01/16/13 04:03 PM

Rada enjoyed your post as learning and creating in the beautiful world of piano music composition is exciting as you stated. I so admire people who can create on their own without a teacher in the music arena. That is true talent... Thank you for sharing. Sincerely, Sandra M...
Posted by: rada

Re: Who inspired you the most to study piano composition? - 01/16/13 04:12 PM

Hi Sandra,

I don't believe it is as much true talent as it is personal effort. Just my thought.

rada
Posted by: Sandra M

Re: Who inspired you the most to study piano composition? - 01/16/13 04:16 PM

Becca Bob... How blessed you are with these wonderful gifts. Some of the greats had no music training at all. Yanni is self taught, Erroll Garner was, the two greatest drummers of all time had no training at all, Buddy Rich and Gene Krupper , just to name a few. George Winston pianist on and on. Spelling mistakes forgive please. No spell check on the format that I can find... Sincerely, Sandra M
Posted by: Sandra M

Re: Who inspired you the most to study piano composition? - 01/16/13 04:20 PM

Rada, Your thoughts are very important as you are the one with the ability and to be admired. As you know we are all different. My teachers told me mine with talent but I worked very hard to learn so I agree with your statement too. Have you heard what many greats have said, " 99% sweat and 1% genius." Sandra M
Posted by: ScottM

Re: Who inspired you the most to study piano composition? - 01/16/13 04:38 PM

I don't know, but Tchaikovsky helped.
Posted by: Ted

Re: Who inspired you the most to study piano composition? - 01/17/13 01:37 AM

Originally Posted By: Sandra M

A music teacher, concert performer etc, in your family background? Sandra M


My father was an outstanding pianist, but not a professional. The sound of piano music was always in the house from my birth. It wasn't inspiration, I just grew up thinking that such activity was normal and everyday. The closest thing to inspiration was when the piano teacher of my youth told me I would be a hopeless concert pianist but asked me if I had thought about improvisation because he considered I already had a flair for it. At the time that was certainly a revelation and his own improvisation caused me to resolve to work at mine for ten years until I "got it". I suppose that might be loosely termed "inspiration", or at least the closest I came to it.
Posted by: rada

Re: Who inspired you the most to study piano composition? - 01/17/13 11:33 AM

I'd say score a point for your teacher. I wonder how many teachers could spot your natural ability to improvise and help direct you that way. On another note, nobody played in our house before me and I always wondered what affect that may have had on me. I carry on just trying to improve my skills.

rada