I used to give lessons that were serious. I still do, when it is called for. Over the years, though, my teaching has been more fun for my students because they’ve been more fun for me. I’ve been adding many more things to lighten up the mood. Why? would you ask (Excellent question, by the way). Because music is a world, a very vast, rich and fascinating world. When people come to see me, I try to share that world, or what I know of it, with them. It makes their experience richer, denser and more enjoyable at the same time.
We talk about the depth of music, but without making it too dramatic and serious. I tell them little facts about what we study, be it a song, a beat or a concept. It is those little “Did you know?” that lift up the subject.
I never stop reading about music and I am always surprised to see the humor behind every topics, even if sometimes it is dark.
All right, I’ll give you and example.
Leonard Cohen composed one of the most beautiful song ever made: Hallelujah. He released it back in 1984. The birth of this masterpiece was painful. Let’s go to Wikipedia: “Cohen is said to have claimed 150 draft verses (for the song Hallelujah), a claim substantiated by his notebooks containing manifold revisions and additions, and by contemporary interviews.” More than that: “Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine said that Cohen took about five years to write the song, and reconfigured it numerous times for performances.”
But the song wasn’t done providing pain for its author. A lot of people covered that song like John Cale, Rufus Wainwright or, more famously, Jeff Buckley. They never claimed they had composed it, but the audience thought those interprets had written the tune. There lies the pain. Leonard Cohen had to endure people telling him they love that song, you know, it’s called “Hallelujah”, it’s a song that Jeff Buckley wrote. At the beginning he corrected people, then he just quipped that he loves that song too.