In this CO-VID season I have come down with an odd case of deja vu and seem to be taken back to a period of my life not too far gone. I will be learning a chord playing instrument, however fortunately the situation surrounding such events have changed this time around, likely improving the success of such endeavours.
I have therefore decided this second time around to focus on the keyboard, finally putting to use the instrument that has been living under my couch for the past 2 years or so. The instrument in question has been in my family for a while, having been made before the trend of planned obsolescence, so indulge me as I relay its history for you.
This poor keyboard has never really been truely sought-after, being the product of a conversation my mother had with a convincing salesman and an enabling friend back before I was born. Thinking it was a thoughtful gift, my mother invested in the keyboard as a surprise for my father, who played the electric organ rather well as a teenager, but had since neglected the art as an adult. My Dad has been and always will be a particular and frugal man, and hence the gesture was inevitably a flop. Mum had paid too much for the type of keyboard she bought, and it didn’t have the sounds or features my father was after.
Hence this instrument became rather neglected and a sore spot for my parents, up until about 5 years later when my brother and I rediscovered it. We grew quite fond of its sound effects and pitch shifting ball, becoming basement DJs in our spare time. It didn’t take long for it’s display to die out, and the little plastic feet to melt and drip suspicious impossible-to-clean plastic liquid on the floor below, and for us to grow sick of it. It was left to collect dust for the many years to follow existing only as a symbol of my parents frustration towards one another. However somehow, surely by the will of God for this very moment, it works to this day and will be the perfect vessel for me to build my chord playing skills this very CO-VID season.
Talking of the CO-VID season, without minimising it’s very real threat, it has brought to life the wonderful flexibility and usefulness of the internet. Classes have been able to continue with minimal disruption at Uni thanks to a program named ‘Zoom’, and I hear the Uni’s big choir has decided to follow in Whitacre’s footsteps and become a virtual choir. These benefits are not limited to university subjects, and I plan to use such means to teach myself the keyboard within the confines of self-isolation. Youtube will be my friend once again!
CO-VID season has also brought me instability with my work, and as I brainstormed work opportunities the other day, I was reminded on the necessity of being able to accompany on a chord-playing instrument as a music teacher. Sadly, due to my lack of ability in this area, I feel under-equipped to sell my services as a voice teacher. I will NOT be one of those teachers that uses backing tracks with their private students, whether for the sake of my pride, or for the students who never get to experience the communicative relationship present with an accompanist.
It is a vital skill for the classroom as well, whichever age group you may teach. Demonstrating songs, it is invaluable skill to be a one-man-band. Delivering musical-futures styled content, it equips you with the ability to perform multiple components of the songs. And that’s not even to mention the added benefit of being able to relate to the plight of the beginning, self-taught musician who you will most definitely encounter in your classroom. Really, there is no disadvantage to this task, and hopefully this time round I have the patience and persistence necessary to give it a red hot go!
*In case you didn’t get it, the title is a pun on the common phrase ‘come again?’, using the unit name (kame) instead (yes, I feel so proud of this pun that it’s necessary to explain it)