Listening to Piano by Emilie Barton, 2 years old

A few thoughts about holding onto the happiness of our first musical impressions.

Video dialogue as text for online translation as requested:

Picasso said, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child”.

With this in mind I’d like to share with you a few moments of our 2 year old daughter Emilie playing piano.

The first thing Emilie does these days when she wakes up in the morning is to walk sleepily in a direct line from her bedroom to the piano, climb on the stool by herself, play a few random notes, and listen to them.

Anticipating she’ll do this, the last thing I do each evening is to wedge down the sustain pedal with a pencil to make the sound more interesting to her.

Why am I sharing this video with you?

Because it reminds me of what Picasso said … and that so much of what we do as musicians is about technique and repertoire and, as the years of practice go by, if we’re not careful we can become immune to the simple pleasure of just listening to the sound the piano makes, because we hear it so much.

Picasso said “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once grown up”.

What Picasso meant of course was not that he wanted to paint pictures in the style of a child, but instead to paint intuitively, unselfconsciously, fearlessly, as if discovering and enjoying all that paint and line could do on a canvas like a child, each and every time he held a brush.

That’s to say … as the years of hard work and practice go by, we still need to hold on to that simple happiness of just making and listening to the colourful sounds floating in the air around us made with our fingers on this incredible wooden box called the piano. Ideally we must play as if we’re discovering the music that comes out of it, for the very first time.

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