Music Matters {Spin Cycle}

You don’t even know what it’s like to live with an competitive pianist. Oh, the hours and hours of practice! Scales running up and down the piano keys over and over, and just when you think she’s done playing scales, she starts another variation. Listening to someone practice the piano is not relaxing; it is listening to the same few measures of music being repeated over and over again until it is absolutely perfect. And what’s worse, she actually LIKED to practice! I mean, who likes to practice the piano? It was all I could do to sit at that piano for half an hour, and she tried to get in THREE HOURS of practice a day!

I supposed that’s why my sister is a music professor and composer and I am not. While I like to pretend that her constant practicing drove me crazy, in reality I was very proud of her piano playing. (My other little sister was also quite an accomplished piano player. They both played the piano far better than I ever did, probably due to that practice thing they both liked to do.) I was more interested in reading books than practicing the piano, and so I would hole up in my bedroom and read while my sister practiced. Perhaps that’s the reason I can shut out the world when my nose is in a book; I trained myself to ignore the piano.

On our vacation, Ed and I were walking through the hotel lobby and a young tattooed man sat at the baby grand, playing quite well. “Clair de lune,” I knowingly told Ed. He told me it didn’t sound like Clair de lune to him, at least not the part he with which he was familiar.

Soon enough, however, he said, “You’re right.” Of course I was right. I only heard it being practiced a gazillion times, along with Chopin, Beethoven and Bach, to name just a few composers.

Now my sister is a composer of her own. She lives in California, though, miles away from Illinois. I’ve never been able to hear one of her pieces being performed live. This piece is one of my favorites. It’s based on a quilt square called “Flock of Geese”, which happens to be one of my favorite patterns. Meredith wrote three pieces based on quilt squares in honor of my mom, who was an avid quilter. She was able to play a simple version on her laptop for Mom when she was in hospice. Click the link below to listen:

Flock of Geese

Circle of Geese block (click the picture to hear Meredith's composition "Flock of Geese")
Circle of Geese block (click the picture to hear Meredith’s composition “Flock of Geese”)

I used to have a Flock of Geese pillow my mom made for me a long time ago. The block was blue and white and I have no idea where it is now; I wish I still had it. What I do have, however, is the memory of Mom’s face as she listened to this beautiful piece of music. I could tell that she could envision those geese, flying away into the distance.

Spin Cycle at Second Blooming

Written as part of Gretchen’s Spin Cycle prompt, “Music”. Also read about my other little sister here: Art Matters.

Fabric of Space by Heather Brammeier

If you have time, pretty please pop on over to 5 Minutes for Mom and read my guest post!


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18 Replies to “Music Matters {Spin Cycle}”

  1. Okay, I can take a hint – Art for next week! Your sister’s work is amazing! I just totally cyber stalked her, and I bet we have friends in common – the whole California music academic world is pretty tight, and I think she got her doctorate from USC, right? I know lots of folks in the choir world who did as well. COOL.

    You are linked!

    1. We can save art for another week! 😉

      Yes, Meredith did get her doctorate at USC, and she goes to LA sometimes to practice with her singing group Convivia. I know she's in another woman's choir, but I don't remember the name of it. She teaches at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. You probably do know some of the same people~ I didn't even think of that when I was writing my post!
      My recent post Music Matters {Spin Cycle}

  2. I love when people have a passion and follow through on it. I cannot play anything but the radio! She must be very proud of herself. I know you are very proud of her. Have a great weekend and happy 4th of July!

  3. Hey, you write a great blog, have a fantastic family and sound like a very nice person to me. That is as important as being talented at playing the piano! There!
    My recent post Decision

  4. First, your sister's song was beautiful. I really could picture the geese taking flight.

    Second, what do you mean you're the "non-talented" one? Writing is a form of art, too. And you, my friend, are a talented writer! 🙂 You create mood, scene, and tone with your words just like your sister creates the same three things with musical notes.

    My recent post British Tea Time

  5. I love that she composed music inspired by a quilt. Very cool. And, yes, don't forget that writing takes talent too!

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