Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Almost (But Not Quite) As Easy As 1, 2, 3...

The Intermediate Chorus (grades 3, 4 and 5) at Falk Laboratory School are having their Spring Concert Tuesday Night (tonight) at 7. Why is this news on Vince's art blog? Because this time, through the magic of rudely butting-in, I am inextricably linked with this performance. Here's how:

Sometimes, when I'm not drawing, I fiddle around on the piano or guitar amusing myself and entertaining my cat...just barely. But when my grade school teacher pal told me she was putting together a Jackson 5 medley for the kids to sing, I immediately usurped her authority and arranged it myself. I couldn't help myself. I'm a sucker for old Jackson 5 tunes.

So I transposed four of their hits into the same key (F, for anyone who cares), plucked out the juiciest hooks and strung them together into a 3-minute, pop music masterpiece. And that, kids, is how you become a music arranger. Easy as A, B-flat, C.

But the real story is the live show. You see, I had to record the medley so the chorus' live accompanist, Shailen, could learn it. How? By ear, of course. Why? Because that's how Shailen learns everything. Shailen is a 12-year old piano player who is visually impaired. So everything he bangs out on the keys he plays by ear. And he plays it well, too. In fact, I was listening to a recording of him playing my arrangement and he made it better. Bass runs that I intentionally left out for simplicity's sake Shailen threw back in -- and they sound great. I think he even picked out a chord or two that I goofed in my haste and he nailed them. I'm telling you, the kid's got a good ear. And he plays well. So if you want to check out Shailen's keyboard work (and the mellifluous voices of the Falk School Intermediate Chorus) stop by Falk School Tuesday night around 7 and catch the show.

Sorry about the lack of "art" in the post. But if it helps, I threw in a shot of the electric piano in my studio. It sits near a wall of classic Disney poster art, so that should count for something. -v

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