The year 1996. 8th grade. Private piano lesson. Frustrated over having to read and play a classical piece I said to myself, “I hate classical music. Why do I need to study this?” As a church musician born and raised in the Baptist church, classical music didn’t really fit into my musical life. I was down with the blues-based Gospel with some Jazz-infused Gospel on the side. Every so often a musical anomaly came through, but wasn’t so anomalous that I couldn’t figure it out in the context that I was accustomed to. Then Richard Smallwood’s “Total Praise” came out. I loved that song (and still do to this day) but it did not fit the musical context that I was accustomed to. In fact, there is a prelude to the actual song that really caught my attention so much that it confused me. I liked it, but it sounded classical… something I don’t really like… or did I? Later on in life I realized that the only reason I hated classical music was because it was not the normal routine for me at that time. When I got to college in 2000 and had to study classical music as part of my degree program, I came across classical music that I did like and ended up incorporating stylistic techniques into my current playing style (specifically Chopin among others). You never know when an unlikely resource will become something that you actually like.
What do you think? Shared wisdom makes us all stronger.