Monday, December 4, 2006
Last night there was a news magazine show on tv that had a story about a young woman pianist. I wish I could tell you more about her but I was doing something else and thought it was getting Tivo'd and I'd go back and get the details later. Unfortunately, it didn't get recorded. I spent some time searching for the story on the web, but didn't get too far. So, from what I saw, apparently she is one of the big up and coming classical pianists...but she's supercontroversial because she has a "secret" life. It's a secret life in which she plays classical pieces and improvises in the style of the composers. She will actually go off and "jam" instead of just playing the piece as they were written. This is something that is very common in Jazz (which she also plays) as well as most other musical styles. Musicians do it all the time, but not the classical musicians. It also used to be done back in the day when the classical composers were actually alive and composing...but somehow improvisation got phased out of the "classical" world. It occurred to me that the classical music world was similar to that of traditional martial arts that do things such as forms and katas...once based in practice for real, actual physical combat but eventually became choreographed routines. "Competition" became scoring how perfectly the forms could be executed. Part of the beauty of martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and submission grappling is the very idea that it IS improvisation. You learn techniques. You drill them over and over. You practice until your body knows how to move in the correct and desired way...but when it's time to roll or spar, it's all about improv! Sometimes a great roll is like when you see a musician with his eyes closed and the music has taken over...it's not about how he plays each note...it's not about his technique with his instrument...he has become absorbed and lost in the music, lost in the instrument, lost in the moment.