What is music made of?


Yesterday I went to my new piano teacher for the first time. Previously, I had a Ukrainian teacher who was quite strict and very experienced, and my new teacher is this really amazing Korean guy. This got me wondering, “What makes a good piano teacher good?” “What is music anyway?”

I came up with a number of thoughts including, “Bad teachers make fluff.” and one that said, “Good teachers produce well rounded musicians.”

Anyway, I figure that my brain does run (or should I say hop?) away from me, especially when it has to do with music. Either way, I think the thoughts bring up some interesting points. After all, music is not just notes and rhythms. If it were just that, it would be just like cotton candy, sweet fluff with no substance, and if you drop something on it, it gets flat and squished, then if you pour water on it, it washes away. I would say instead that music is actually a picture, a language, emotions, experiences all rolled into one. It can show one happiness, stars, clouds, water, hope, desperation, sadness, anger, love, flowers, trees, birds, and little gerbils named Lorenzo hopping all over the place. It could very well be life itself.

For the musician, the musician must use music as a way to let the listener experience this, only this way will music be all it was meant to be. In a way, the composer leaves us with a bottle. We must study this bottle and learn about the master who made it to understand what we can fill it with or what we can or can’t do with it. For example, you can’t fit a boulder into a narrow-necked bottle, yet you can break small pieces off the boulder to place in the bottle. We must then fill the bottle with our imagination, our experiences, and our very soul. It is then that we can give it to the world, where it will float among the waves and fill the hearts of listeners.

Float among the waves of music!


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