Life According to Piano

Something inspiring to read, which even includes a bit of music

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is as down-to-earth as a man who spent half a year in space can be. On what we earth-bound folks can learn from astronauts, Hadfield replied: 

Have a purpose to your life. Have a destination in mind. What is in the distance that you are interested in? Don't just let life randomly kick you around. And then make the small decisions on a daily basis that move your life in that direction.

The real key to that, though, is to recognize that the endgame is not the measure of success... Your life is every single little step along the way.

Read the whole thing — and be sure to listen to Hadfield’s music video filmed aboard the International Space Station. (It’s okay, the guitar survives.)

(And we could take his quote above and build our whole piano practice around it, couldn’t we? 

What do we want to play or compose “in the distance” that we can take small steps toward daily? How can we have a purpose to practicing, in each practice session — to learn something & move forward each & every time at the instrument? How rich will our music be if we hold just that attitude toward all of our practice? 

I love love love love love it!)


Adventures in Notation

As you know, one of my two major projects right now is notating all the music from The Rebirth of Light & getting it published in a book. (The other, of course, is preparing the Verbs CD for replication. One would expect that to be quite easy, since it’s Keith playing piano & not me, and it should be. But a little editing & then mixing are still required; and our editing software was no longer usable; and then the new software required system updates; and the new tools are weird; and then... All I can say is, it makes the dog eating the homework look like a strategy for success. Anything else would be whining, which I try not to inflict upon you.)

Anyway, we took an afternoon — well, my Roadie-Techie-Groupie took an afternoon — and hooked up the Kurzweil keyboard through a MIDI interface to my computer. And lo, there was playing music into the notation software! Which looked like this:

unedited Suns Lullaby

Despite the mess, this is © 1997, 2007, 2013 Kathleen Ryan.
Because if you can decipher it, the music is indeed there.


You can click that if you really want to see the horrors full size. My hands move around so much on the piano, and the inner voices are just complex enough, that Sibelius is having big time difficulties reading the split points.

Strangely desolate around here

My darling Mr Darcy (the DONKEY, not Colin Firth!) has gone to winter in the foothills of the Manzanos, playing companion to two horses and cantering through far larger pastures than we can give him here.

But what will I do for musical inspiration?!!!


This is a musical portrait of my donkey, who does not like taking walks on a lead rope. (He loves taking walks; but the lead rope part, not so much. Mr Darcy is a free donkey.) The music includes everything Darcy does — he runs, he kicks (playfully, of course), he brays, and then ...

he stops. When Darcy stops, I do too. Of course.

~ from the liner notes for The Donkey Drag, on Drivin’!


Here’s the charmer himself:

PA300006


I want you to understand that I didn’t “get in his face” for that photo (something I was accused of last week!) Rather, I took this next photo, and Darcy came over to mug for the camera all on his own.

PA300003 copy


He may be plump, but he likes to roll:

PA300008 copy


And why is Mr Darcy so inspiring musically? Well, he talks a lot and has a dozen other interesting sounds. As you can guess, I like sounds. Also, his personality is so strong that I can sense his moods, and moods evoke music in me too. He has a sense of humor. He’s smart. He is very much his own person.

I keep thinking I might hear him braying in a moment. Other than visits to the Manzanos, that will only happen if I attain donkey superpowers or something.

It’s oddly quiet out there.

© 2006-2016 Topaz Productions • Email Kathleen