June 8, 2010

A Rainbow is a Smile (Turned Upside Down)

As a person who’s capable of absorbing a lot of complicated, convoluted music, I’m surprised by how much joy I still find in the simplest of melodies. And I mean simple. When I’m not busy composing for clients and listening to my own pieces as I edit them, you’ll likely catch me listening to “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

It’s not as creepy as it sounds. I have over twenty piano students at the moment, and the vast majority of them are beginners, so I end up listening to these kinds of tunes for a few hours everyday. Maybe it’s because I’ve been having some bad days on the composing front (long story short: I feel like I’m forsaking my soul to write music that I disagree with), but listening to children’s songs has been cheering me up.

One of my eight-year-old students today was learning a piece called, “A Rainbow is a Smile (Turned Upside Down)” composed by Nancy Faber, from the Piano Adventures series. It’s a cute melody on its own, but when I sat down beside her to play the teacher accompaniment, my heart swelled and I started getting emotional over how pretty and uplifting everything sounded. I liked it so much that I even made up some excuse for us to play it together again. (“Let’s focus on the dynamics this time!”)

I don’t care if it’s a primer level piece written for an eight-year-old. I would happily play that duet with any (and all) of my friends.