Monday, March 14, 2011

I Got the Music in Me

Could any sentence be more vague than "I love music"?  Is there a person alive who doesn't love music? 

We have SO many choices now when it comes to genres and styles.  With outlets like iTunes and Pandora, virtually anything we can think of can be met with  a new band or musician to discover.  But up until 90 or 100 years ago, unless it was a special occasion or Sundays in church, people entertained themselves with their own music on the piano or "fiddle", or just plain singing.

According to an article from The Missourian (August 9, 2009), sales of pianos have gone from 364,000 in 1909 to just 64,000 (acoustic AND digital) in 2009.  Consider how many fewer people lived in the US one hundred years ago and this number seems even more telling (90.4 million vs. 300 million).  I guess this makes sense - many people can't afford such a purchase anymore and with seemingly fewer kids taking piano lessons, folks don't bother owning one.

When my sister Jen and I were kids one of the major draws for going to our Grammie's house was her piano.  She had the patience of a saint but there was always that one moment when she'd had enough of our, um, "playing".  Considering that she was an elementary music teacher (and OUR music teacher to boot), I'm surprised she let us near it at all.  I desperately wanted to take piano lessons as a kid (back then many kids took lessons, at least in my neck of the woods) but alas, we lived in an apartment and besides the lack of room there was also the noise factor.  I had to settle for being a piano appreciator.

One of the casualties of fewer piano sales is also the decline of sheet music sales.  In the 80s it was not uncommon to see the hits of the day ("Against all Odds" by Phil Collins sticks out for me) in sheet music at the local Musicland or piano store.  Well, there are no longer any national music store chains but we are incredibly fortunate to have Mike's Music here in Fond du Lac.  You can still purchase sheet music there but many are opting for downloading it instead. 

Which brings me (FINALLY!) to the ephemera part of the post!  In the last five years or so, it has become quite popular to use sheet music - in collage.  There is an abundance of it and it certainly adds interest to a piece, regardless of whether or not the subject is musical in nature.  I can't read music to save my life (Brian can - until he realized his true calling his junior year, he was a music major - tenor saxophone) but I do enjoy the purdy notes and lines and stuff. 

Here are some of my pieces that have incorporated music:


  1. I too desparately wanted to take piano lessons when I was growing up...but with 3 boys plus me in the family, there were no funds for an instrument or lessons. Today I can't read music to save my life. But, I LOVE collecting sheet music, with the plan to use it in my art...but haven't done much yet.

  2. Can't wait to see what you create with the sheet music, Terry! :D