Saturday, April 13, 2013

My "College of Musical Knowledge"

I often get asked where the breadth of my musical knowledge comes from, usually in connection with my age (52). For the mathematically inclined, that means I was born in 1960, and how could I possibly know who Benny Goodman is? For that matter, the Beatles broke up when I was 10, so how could I possibly know anything about the Beatles? I wasn't around when Bach, Mozart, Handel or Rachmaninoff were, so...etc. You get the idea.

Short explanation: heritage and broadcasting. That little shot of me to the right was taken when I was 3 or 4. I was listening to Mozart. My memory, by the way, goes back to infancy.

1. I love music.

2. Dad was born in 1917 in the Arkansas Ozarks. He was a bluegrass mountain music player. He also had a taste for classical music and violinist David Oistrakh. I had his music from birth.

3. Mom (born in 1923) loved classical music and church music. We went to church. We sang. Lots.

4. My oldest sister was born in 1944. I had her music in the house.

5. My next sister was born in 1952. I had her music in the house.

6. I read. Voraciously. Listened to lots of radio of all types from childhood on. A neighbor lady worked at a local station and needed my piping child's voice for a commercial, so she came over and recorded me. I was bitten with the radio bug pre-teen and never lost it.

7. The first radio station I worked at was the local one. I was 18. While there was a lot of news and information on this AM station, we also played music. And we played almost everything. I do mean EVERYTHING. Except heavy metal. This station played (and by virtue of being on the air, I played: adult contemporary, pop rock, country, big band, jazz, classical, Hawaiian music, country Gospel, bluegrass, Organ Music (the Magic Organ kind, mandated by the station owner). Get the idea?

8. When you're on the air and have to open your mouth, it helps to know a little about the subject of which you're speaking. I tried. Not perfectly, but I tried.

So there you have it. The reason why I have no mind left. Everything will remind me of some song. No matter where I am, no matter to whom I'm talking, no matter what subject is being discussed. Some music will intrude.

Oh, I forgot something.

9. I am a frustrated musician who plays bass, guitar and keyboards very, very VERY badly. More insanity causal issues. I'll get over it.

10. Finally, (and I'm not being tongue-in-cheek now), I owe my love of music and knowledge to the Master Musician Himself—the Lord, the author of music. The Bible is full of music, with instructions to . . . Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals (Psalm 150).

I had to chuckle when the late Christian singer Larry Norman asked "Why does the Devil have all the good music?" He doesn't. Not by a long shot.

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