Today, New York City was blanketed by the gentlest, most beautiful snowfall we’ve had in recent memory.
With all local activities cancelled, I enjoyed an entire afternoon of free time at home.
The question arose: “What do I want to do?”
I decided to dig a little deeper, and ask myself, “What do I really want to do today, that I don’t usually do?”
The answer came to me: “I want to play some music that makes me happy.” “Music that I don’t often play for one reason or another.”
So I went to my bookshelf, pulled out a long-neglected book of Harlem Stride Piano transcriptions, and played a few pieces by…
Willie “The Lion Smith.”
Willie “The Lion” Smith was an early jazz pianist who was a favorite of, among others, Duke Ellington and also my own piano teacher, Billy Taylor.
As I read through the transcriptions, I couldn’t resist smiling as I played Smith’s impressionistic harmonies and “old-timey” pianistic textures. It sounded like “Ravel meets Ragtime” and yes, the music did actually make me smile!
This is the joy of playing piano. We can experience wonderful sounds and emotions any time we like.
Except… we often don’t.
Life gets in the way. We have responsibilities. We find ourselves tired after a long day and simply want to go to sleep.
But every once in a while, we get a Snow Day.
So the next time you get a Snow Day (whether or not it’s actually snowing outside), ask yourself “What music do I really want to play?”
And then go over to your piano and play it. (You’ll be glad you did!)
Enjoy the journey, and “let the music flow!”
Learn the 5 Essential Left Hand Techniques with my free ebook: Left Hand Techniques for Jazz Piano
You’ll also get my weekly jazz newsletter with practice tips and inspiration