Do you have a piece that has crossed your path several times over the years? I am thinking of a piece that you unexpectedly play multiple times, not one that you play for yourself, standards or encyclicals. I recently realized I have a piece like this and have been appearing in interesting situations in my life ever since I was in college.
When I first played Schumann’s Three Romances, I accompanied a flutist to his lead performance. I did a performance of my own a few weeks earlier, and so the performance of the romances was part of a larger passage rite. The following summer, we played with them at several organizations, and then each went to graduate schools at the other end of the country.
After a few summers, I got my first actual music job at a summer music camp as an accompanist and consultant. Of course, I taught myself a few years ago, but now an organization has paid me for my hard-earned knowledge and skills! One day one of the violin teachers asked me to read a few pieces with him and I was pleased to notice that I was watching the romances again. We played them together at one of the weekly programs and later at another community event.
I ran quite a varied career when my children were young. I taught school music, piano, and performed a bit. I also volunteered at my older daughter’s school to accompany all the music events. One day the music teacher shyly handed me a music folio and asked if I would play with it. Imagine my surprise when I found myself staring at romances – transplanted to the trombone! We played them on the elementary school break program that night, my flutist friend made his debut from college at Carnegie Hall. Oh boy…
After my children were old enough, I went back to college for my doctorate and got a job as a piano teacher at a community college, on the outskirts, 140 miles away. Weekly commuting is enough. We sometimes read music with the violin teacher, and one Wednesday afternoon those romances were there again. We never actually performed together, but we certainly had a good time reading the music.
Like things, the programs were eventually reorganized in college, and I found myself teaching part-time in a private way, as well as blogging, holding workshops, and judging. I also spend time with my musical neighbors for fun and regular community events. One of our neighbors is a member of the local flute club, and you guessed it … We played romances together in a community cauldron a few years ago.
Looking back, it seems that romances have appeared at turning points in my musical life. But why? Maybe I was allowed to compare my latest musical song to the younger one? Maybe someone in the room needed these pieces then and I was part of the vehicle? I can accept one or both of them. Still, I’m still not sure about the elementary school and Carnegie Hall thing.