Expressions Music Academy July 2017

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Melody The Monthly

NOVI LOCATION: 43370 West 10 Mile Rd Novi, MI 48375 TROY LOCATION: 4000 Livernois Rd Troy, MI 48098 PLYMOUTH-CANTON: 9357 General Drive Suite 101 Plymouth, MI 48170

MY LONG ROAD TO THE IVORY KEYS The Story of My Musical Journey (Part 1)

Every musician, whether young or old, professional or brand-new, has a unique story of their journey into the world of music. At Expressions, we encounter every narrative imaginable, especially from our instructors and adult students. There are the kids raised by helicopter parents who loathed the hours they were forced to hunker down in front of the family Steinway, until they returned to the instrument years later. There are the persevering strugglers, who started bowing at their violins at age three, and though they were met with constant obstacles and self- doubt, continued to practice nearly every free moment. My own musical journey started off a little bumpy, but eventually resulted in music permeating every aspect of my life in the best possible way. My first experience of the hypnotic power of music, and likely one of my first conscious encounters with true beauty, came when I was a precocious little 6-year-old. We were at a Christmas party with most of my extended family. From my knee-height vantage, I stared at all the adults milling around, snacking, laughing, and chatting. My great uncle broke away from the crowd, slowly sat down on the wooden bench in front of the organ, and began to play. The conversation muted for some minutes as we listened to the warm tones of the instrument. Eventually, though, everyone began to wander off again, back to their chatting and chomping. Everyone except me, that is — I was standing right there next to my great uncle, mesmerized by his musicianship. I remember, he just kept playing and playing and playing, and I remained there, completely amazed. It took some time before I would put my own fingers on the keys. A couple years later, I was given a little 66-key toy Casio keyboard as a present. I played around on it all the time, but I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Eventually, I began to figure out little melodies by ear and tried to find their appropriate harmonies. I remember once, after hours and hours, cracking the melody to “The Star-Spangled Banner,” along with the harmonies in thirds. When I showed it to my dad, he was impressed and encouraging, but he couldn’t help asking “Where’s the left hand? Where’s the accompaniment?”

Later, though I don’t remember how it started, I began clarinet lessons at my mother’s behest, at the Faith Lutheran Center for the Performing Arts. I dutifully practiced, but, to be honest, clarinet was just okay to me. I didn’t like it very much. When I was 11, I got braces and told my instructor Paul McCaffrey that they were making it hard to play (this was a lie). He paused for a moment, then pulled a beginners’ piano method book out of his briefcase.“How would you feel about trying piano today?” he asked. My eyes lit up. An entire realm of possibility was suddenly opened to me. Little did I know that this moment was the beginning of a life dedicated to the art of music — a story I can’t wait to tell you about next month.

Thanks to everyone who have been so invested in my monthly newsletter. I hope you love reading along as much as I enjoy writing it!

- Jessica Schatz

Novi Location: 248-773-8364 | Troy Location: 248-845-4611 | Plymouth-Canton Location: 248-480-9108 | 1

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