Music as a door to culture

Besides being fun to play, the piano can give us a door through with which we can experience a different part of our own culture, or even a bit of an unfamiliar one.

Even a simple piece of music, such as “Sailor’s Dance” from the excellent Joy of First Year Piano (by Denes Agay) can provide this for us.

While learning the notes, we can think about the old sailing ships that were out at sea, away from home, for up to years at a time. We can imagine the lively dances the sailors did to amuse themselves in the evenings. We can watch a movie or read a book about the sea-faring life. We can sing a sea-chantey and learn that there were hundreds of such songs, sung daily aboard these ships. We might even choose to go for a sail ourselves, if the opportunity arises.

And all this… from a one-page piano piece!

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