Thursday, June 7, 2007

"Air Piano"

"Air Guitar" has been the rage for some time since the spread of the virulent Rock n'Roll virus. My niece in Florida used to play "Air Violin" but now practices with the real thing. "Air Conducting" is another favorite pastime for those who prefer Bartok to Buddy Holly or Stravinsky over Rod Stewart.

During my teenage years, when jazz disc jockeys and their careful selections formed the basis of my education in jazz, I often bought the recordings they played. Jazz pianists were fascinating and still are. I memorized where the low, middle and high notes occured, the fast, dazzling passages as well. Kneeling beside my single bed, I'd play AP for an hour or two every day. Art Tatum, Dave Brubeck, Meade Lux Lewis (!), Fats Waller, Oscar Peterson, Marian McPartland, Teddy Wilson, George Shearing and Barbara Carroll were some of my favorites. "Playing" along with Erroll Garner was the most fun. (If some Hollywood stars had adopted my method, the results would not have been as hilarious as when I watched their hands poised over the low end of the keyboard while the music played a passage at the high end.)

If my aging knees would permit it, I'd be joyously flailing away in front of the bed, trying to imitate the brilliant technique of Bill Charlap.

"Air Piano". Ever tried it?

PS ... I am working on a lengthy entry which will attempt to answer the persistent question: "Do you teach?"

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