Random Music


For me, music is the most international language. At times it can connect people better than a conversation, especially when there are loopholes to overcome. When I visit another culture, I find many things interesting that define their unique way of life, from art and cuisine to dance, music, and life stories. The most beautiful aspect of music is its ability to make you travel through time. It is almost as if you just listened to the full country’s history and character on a whim. It is timeless. I believe that is why hearing is the last sense we lose when we die.

I can now say that I’ve had music teachers in three different countries. I wanted to give a review, in case you’re interested in signing your kids for music lessons and would like to see what to focus on in a teacher…

In the Czech Republic, it started with my family. My grandfather was a professional jazz singer and piano player while my grandma was a strict technique piano teacher. My mother grew up around them and had me select an instrument I wanted to start with. I chose piano and I would recommend it to start with. It is an easier way to learn how to connect hand technique to music before you’d like to move on to the other instruments. My first teacher was a great start – music theory, finger technique, improvisation… and my mother (piano teacher herself) refused to practice with me, although made sure I practiced for an hour before I could watch Ducktales. After that, we moved to a bigger city and I started taking classes from a teacher who challenged my attention and hard work, but unfortunately, that was her only concern and it took the whole excitement of music away. One day she told me I should stop, and even critiqued me in the middle of a piano recital in front of the whole crowd while asking the rest of the kids if they noticed how I fucked up with the pedal… well, I still play as a hobby, but having a lot more fun with it! I guess it wasn’t a match made in heaven. This brings me to my teacher in the states…

When we moved to the USA, the guitar was my way of escape and I looked forward to Sunday morning lessons each week. I had a blast with my teacher. I was interested in classical, pop, rock… He was keen on all genres and let me select my own music I wanted to learn. At that time I missed Kelly Family, who weren’t popular in the states. He has never heard of them, but quickly picked up on the tunes, and guitar parts from songs and taught me how to play them. At an international school with an ESL program, my Polish choir teacher was also fantastic. Her dedication to getting the kids involved in fun events made it an unforgettable experience. She took some of us to join a choir to perform at the Disney Christmas Candelight show in Orlando, getting together with kids from the other schools to put on a show to remember, for us as well as the crowd. I’ll never forget singing Christmas masterpieces with the incredible Christmas spirit all around and having a huge flock of doves flying above us into the crowd towards the end of the performance. This was in Tampa. I didn’t expect to experience such a magical Christmas in a place without snow. Then, we relocated to Charlotte. In high school, I thought about teaching guitar. I went to a teacher at a local store. He wanted me to play the chords I knew, then repeated them with me. Well, it didn’t last too long, not more than one lesson to be exact. I switched to a teacher who was amazing at classical, but too focused on my hands, to the point where he literally moved close to my hands when I played, checking them out and filing them, saying that he was trying to show me how my nails on the right hand should have longer nails than my left hand. He wanted me to go back to much easier pieces just because my hands didn’t move well and needed to be “restructured” or “redirected” When I decided to buy an amplified guitar instead of one of the classical ones from his personal store I knew it was time to part ways.

Now in Kenya Riruta Settlement, it was whole another experience. Local artists getting together to jam and improvise, just a total blast. I got to play some Czech music with them accompanying me while jamming with their African beats. Then I learned a djembe. I loved it, it was like meditation, which was really a big part of the lesson. To give you an example of an exercise, I was given the task to play a specific beat while the guys tried to make random noises to get me distracted, but I kept going! No one asked for money, just time together. It wasn’t just a music lesson, but a life lesson. When I get stuck in my life due to unexpected circumstances, I remind myself of these moments and I am fine. It’s the magic of improvisation, and I know that my grandfather, who was a professional jazz musician, sent me there to learn how to get up and not stop enjoying life. In the video, I was dealing with an internal struggle of my own and had no confidence in myself whatsoever, but this let me know, that there was no reason to stop the music. I always sang the best when alone, and I’ve always been super nervous and self-conscious, but perhaps learning to do this in front of people will make it another experience. Losing yourself and letting yourself act as silly as you want is necessary for this life. Second City in Chicago is my next stop πŸ™‚

In conclusion, if your child is not up for sticking to one skillset for long enough to learn it well, either look for someone who will make it an exciting experience and inspire them or look for a hobby/skillset they will enjoy. And, don’t get them a teacher who encourages them to stop! πŸ˜‰

  • During my stay in Riruta Satellite settlement in Nairobi, I not only got to know the children and my host but the community and local musicians/artists. I had a great time learning djembe and jamming with my djembe teacher while he accompanied me while playing some favorite Czech musicians πŸ™‚ It’s one of those experiences one never forgets. I couldn’t believe how much fun and escape from the 2016 elections I would find in the slums of Nairobi, but when I got a sense of the community I kind of believed it! I think I got this from my grandfather, who was a jazz improvisation pro, but I cannot describe the feeling of freedom when you jam with random people you just met, accompanying each other with the beats of our own culture. BTW this is the first time my friend heard this Czech song, yet was able to accompany it perfectly ❀ The song is “Memories” by Aneta Langerova

I took a few notes from a right-hand tune my mom used to play when I was a kid, added my left escort, and everything else when it passes the #B minor accent. She said no worries about editing, she remembers her version. I’m just getting back into piano after a long break since my early teens, so my hand technique sucks, it’s short, the tune is not as consistent and the ending needs work… in terms of technique my grandma would have a lot to say and grandpa would tell me to just relax more, but it’s a place to start. Today I’m glad I got back into this hobby 😊

Another aim at composition, this time on guitar, it is a lot of fun!! The story behind the tune and the name of it is a date I went on a long long time ago. It was rather perplexing. The conversation was baffling, food was brought in in a peculiar order, two awkward texts/calls regardless of the possibility of different plans beforehand, and everything seemed like a game with time. The day after I wore a different shoe style and color on each foot without noticing, to the laughter of my colleagues. No, I was not hungover, just in my own world and truly confused…

There are clear continuous switches between accents of the high notes and low notes to represent each shoe style, confused state, and high/low moods from different possible realities while interpreting the conversation during the date. When I found I had two different shoes I immediately thought of the shoes in Oz as a representation of liberation. I had two styles, not sure what that meant… maybe I contradict myself too much.