Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Georgia On My Mind, The 15th Hired Request Now Complete On!


Gordon from Glasgow, Scotland said...


With this song, you have given me the perfect forum to share my comment. I wanted to let you know that a few months ago I picked up your clip on YouTube for Ray Charles's “What I'd say”. It’s a song I have always loved and wanted to be able to play, and it is exactly the same age as me. I am an architect and a part-time university lecturer and for me music is a passion but actually really only a hobby. I have a talent for performance, and I love to improvise, but my repertoire is incredibly limited and I have never really been able to perform a learned piece on a keyboard in front of others. My fingers always go into knots. My reading of sheet music is OK but my lack of training (some piano lessons at school) and resultant note-blindness really gets in the way of me learning from the score. I could have sat for months in front of the sheet music and I know that I would never have picked up the syncopation from it.

I have owned a Fender Rhodes for twenty-five years and I have played bits and pieces now and again in the past, all of which were pretty basic, but babies came along and it has been in mothballs now for some time. However, your tutorial spurred me on to do something about it, and deal with a lingering issue of commitment that I have had to that instrument.

I worked away at your notation under your guidance, and then added in the rest of the piece from other sources and finally put it all together over a period of months, using a little Technics keyboard. I also worked on perfecting the riff and the note runs anywhere I could find a keyboard and then worked with a metronome, taking it faster and faster until I got it up to the 179 speed. I also worked away at the singing part, and managed to stretch my vocal range, by training, enough to deliver it with passion and verve.

Finally I dug my Fender Rhodes out of the attic, gave it a good clean, prayed that it would play (it did, perfectly, they really built these things) and started rehearsing in earnest. I then formed an impromptu band with two other tutors and signed up as an act for the Glasgow School of Art Christmas Concert. Finally, after all these years, on Saturday night we performed in front of the students, staff and families at the School of Art.

I have to say, immodestly, that it went down very well; we really rocked the place and we got the biggest cheer of the night. We all got a real kick out of playing it, too. I know it was the right thing to do, even though over the last while it has tended to dominate my free time, to the detriment of my family.

Now that my family have got me back, and because you are a great teacher and because I believe in the difference that good teaching can make, I want to thank you very much for three things: You gave me and my friends, with whom I have now become closer, the chance to play; you helped me entertain and surprise a whole bunch of folks and you helped me to stop feeling guilty about owning my beloved Rhodes and never doing it justice by performing "What I'd say".

I can now look it straight in the keys and say - "You can't reproach me any more. We did it on stage, and we did it well".

Thanks again.


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