The ecstacy of playing music

March 25, 2008

When a musician gets a new instrument they truly love, one that inspires him to WANT to play, it is very much like having a new lover — you just can’t get enough, so you keep playing. Such has been the case with my 1976 Feurich piano. It’s a 7’3″ grand piano made of [now illegal, sigh] Brazilian rosewood with keys made from one piece of ivory. We even decided to be a one car family in LA for 2 years so that we could afford it (now THAT is love!).

This came to mind as I watched a new film AUGUST RUSH, a drama with fairy tale elements, where an orphaned musical prodigy uses his gift as a clue to finding his birth parents. Part of the plot is a retelling of Oliver Twist story with Robin Williams as a kind of Fagin character, who inspires his boys to become great musicians. His favorite talent is the Oliver character, Evan Taylor (his stage name is August Rush), played here by Freddie Highmore. The video clip from the film below shows Evan’s first interaction with a guitar. The guitar technique he uses is one well known to fans of Michael Hedges who is credited on this film. The joy conveyed by Highmore here is one that musicians know and love. Many of us have had moments of musical ecstacy from time to time as both performer and listener, and this film reminded me of those thrilling moments.

I had an argument with the dude at the Blockbuster store about whether the movie is good or not. I told him it perhaps meant more to me as a musician. He then went on a motor-mouth review of the moment he turned the movie off, letting me know in no uncertain terms that this was not a good movie. I cut him off, thanked him and went home.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

greenbaypat March 27, 2008 at 7:48 pm

hey rog, re your article “the ecstasy of playing music” and new instruments… so true and it hit me where i live especially today because i just got a vox phantom 12 re-issue which i used to draw incessantly in grade school and can’t stop playing it now – trying to find that jingle jangle morning through a sansamp and compressor . approximates, but i have the distinct feeling that only a ric will yield that sound… and that’s probably how the universe should remain ordered. i was telling somebody from our class recently how it went against the odds that so many uber talented musicians emerged from a nondescript class… steve brandl being an exception and maybe one of the most talented guitarists who maybe went crazy behind it or was bi-polar way before that and guitar playing saved him… til he got shipped out to brown county mental hospital. or doug yankus of soup, dead of diabetes in 1982 – cd available on amazon) and on, on and on. anyway, keep representing gbe 71 and the good work that seemingly naturally follows!!

Previous post:

Next post: