Life According to Piano

to help Haitians

Give your money to the ones who are truly responding: Team Rubicon.

I’ve been reading their blog since they deployed, and in most areas of Port-au-Prince they have brought the first medical attention anyone has seen.

They’re a private group of former military medical and security specialists, with emergency, orthopedic, and neurology medical experts accompanying them. The ex–Marines/ex–army guys provide triage and first–responder duties, as well as logistics and security services. This allows the highly skilled doctors and nurses to provide hospital–type care: surgery, post–op. They are not always working inside hospitals!

What Team Rubicon has, that the larger aid organizations and even the US military don’t seem to have, is the ability to move quickly, to respond and provide assistance in the field, directly to the Haitian people, who have suffered more than enough. The team has not been hung up trying to get into PaP or out of the airport: the very first team members self–financed and entered through the Dominican Republic, hiring local drivers and translators. They stage from a Jesuit mission, and in most of the areas they have entered they were the first help seen by the Haitian people.


Here’s what I wish everyone playing my music knows already. Well, first I hope that someone wants to play my music! Today I am writing some of it down for you, and writing it down drives me a bit batty, so here’s what I hope you know, on that magical day in the not too distant future when you open up your Kathleen Ryan sheet music:

I have no idea how fast or slow you are to play these pieces, so please don’t expect to see a metronome mark! Yes, I’ve managed to put them into many of the pieces I’ve already published; but it was with much grumbling each time. I don’t even play them at the same tempo each time. I place a MM= some number or other on the score, and the next day when I try it out, that number seems completely wrong. Bah! I will not be placing numbers into my score anymore. It’s not about the numbers.

I will give you tempo notation, but it will most likely always be feeling–based. All my music has to do with feelings! Deep feelings, often, I hope, but still feelings. Today I can play the opening of Water in a Dry Land at one tempo, and it is free and a bit dark and wonderful; tomorrow who knows?! But it will be whatever speed is free, a bit dark, and wonderful. What counts is the free, dark, wonderful quality; not the speed.

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