Once upon a time, music was very different. The Beatles hadn’t played yet. We hadn’t heard them. Sure, there was rock and roll … but not like now. Not like it became after the Beatles. They made sounds we’d never heard before, not anywhere. Maybe sounds that had never even existed on earth.
They didn’t only play instruments and sing. They played a recording studio. They literally introduced completely new sounds, mixing guitar, Dobro, drums, vocals, synthesizers to change music forever.
Younger generations … even my son’s generation, the Gen Xers … they were born after it all changed. They don’t get it, that before the Beatles, music was different. The world was very different.
Music was much more important to us … me, my friends, my whole generation … than music is now. We lived and died with the music we loved. Maybe you had to be there.
The Beatles changed our music and music changed our world. And we, my generation — we changed everything.
I grew up playing the piano. My brother started lessons, but it was obvious he didn’t have an ear for music. I was four. When he finished a lesson, I would sit down and play it with 2 fingers. My mother let Matt go out to play and gave me lessons.
I was pretty good, but never good enough. I got to that frustrating place in the classical music world where I was “almost concert quality.” Almost is surprisingly far from “good enough.”
For my first 18 years, classical music was my world. I played it, hummed it, studied it, listened to it. My friends played instruments, we talked music and went to concerts. When finally knew I would never bridge the gap between concert and “playing well,” I stopped playing at all. For a long time, I just listened to the music of my generation and it was good. The 1960s, the years of Baez and Dylan, the Stones, Beatles, Woodstock … A great time to be young and I joined the party.
Decades passed. Sometimes I had a piano and would start to practice, get my hands back. I would remember how much I had loved classical music. Then life would close in and more years passed. One day, I heard in my mind’s ear a melody. A theme. Where did I remember that? Oh, I know … that’s the second movement of Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony. I bought a boxed set of the symphonies. But didn’t get to listen except in the car. The television was always on, no time for music … and I can’t listen to symphonies while driving. They sweep me away.
Music was tucked away again until last autumn, I got my new Kindle Fire HD. For $6.99 (and I had discount coupons too, so thank you Amazon) with instant delivery by WiFi, I got all of Beethoven‘s symphonies. Every night since, I have drifted off to sleep to the infinitely perfect harmonies of that symphony, floating with the swelling of the orchestra and becoming part of the music. Beethoven’s 6th Symphony. Just click on the video and listen. You might just like it.