Let's face it. The world will not end if there isn't another new age music CD on the market. So why bother? Why play when most people don't care or want to hear the kind of music you like? The answer lies in the nature of art itself, for the world really does not need art. It can survive without painting, sculpture or music. It can survive, but it would be a pretty dreary place.
But the main reason we play is not for the world but for ourselves. We must play for ourselves first and if people hear and like it fine. If not, that’ s fine too. As long as we don't deprive ourselves of the enriching experience improvisation can bring.
When I first started playing I wanted to create something others could admire. Something that people could say, wow, listen to that. That guy is really good. But I was miserable and miles away from the true purpose of playing music. It wasn't until a year or so later that I realized that if I don't please myself first, no one would be pleased. Nor did it matter if others were pleased or not.
So, what is new age piano improvisation good for? Absolutely nothing - except the joy it can bring to you and to me when we enter the flow and the music pours out of us. It is so precious to be able to do this. So fleeting it may be too. A second or a minute of forgetting yourself at the piano is a sacred act. One that grows and develops. It matures of itself. Much like meditation. If one practices the art, one grows in proportion to that practice.
But this kind of growth is spiral in nature. There are times that the music seems lifeless and dull. At these times we feel the same inside. But a day or two later, we are in a new place and the music flows like water. This is a mystery, this process. One can only go with it and not fight it. You are creating art second by second when you improvise. This kind of beauty is fleeting - but is the most precious. Guard it. Cherish it. And if you feel inclined share it with the rest of the world.
Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons . He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Stop by now at http://www.quiescencemusic.com/piano_lessons.html for a FREE piano lesson!