Music in aged years

My wife has started flute last fall. I was wondering how long she could go on with it. So far, she is still practising it almost every day. Late at night, I could hear her making long tone, staccato and scales. Then some simple tune would follow them. She is getting even more enthusiastic at it for now. She says she is concerned about how to play with more beautiful tone. Last night, she said she found it sounded better when she played after bathing. Hot bath might relax her and enable her play with better sound, possibly. Anyway, it is amazing she is getting so much devoted to the instrument at her age.

I am influenced by her. I practise more with scale. At this age, I am much more conscious about the intonation among tonalities. The same named tones could be slightly but still substantially different in the pitches among tonalities. Learning about it, I find the unaccompanied suites by Bach sound quite vivid with proper intonation. If I attended lesson, the teacher might have taught about it long before. It is, however, still stimulating me to learn about the tonality and the temperament/tuning system by myself. Music is often regarded as a self-closed world with perfect beauty. In reality, however, it is essentially failed to be perfect in itself. Was Pythagoras, who is told to have invented the theory of his tuning system aware of this imperfection? Anyway, my practise for this quite basic technique goes on every day. Far from perfection.

At our age, we could never reach skill good enough to touch audience with our performance or even to please them with it. Practise is only for ourselves. What is the meaning? Isn't it waste of time and energy? Sometimes, I am captured by such skepticism. From the objective standpoint, there must be no answer to prove how worthy it is. But, subjectively, we could be absorbed in music and in instruments for a while, apart from any noises from our lives. Isn't it good enough? Or is it still an excuse to waste time? Who knows? So far as the player is satisfied for a moment, that is good enough. Repeating such question and answer, I am still going on with my cello.

In the end of this month, I would join an ensemble with the other string instrument players. The piano trio will start next month as well. Maybe, in a few years, I may enjoy simple chamber music with my wife and daughter, a pretty good violinist, as well. Looking forward the pleasure to play together with family or friends, I would go on practising. It is a proof of my life in a sense.


  1. I find, Shin, that I appreciate music and art more from people who have experience of life, not because the sound is perfect or the color of the painting is ideal but because it carries a patina of wisdom, which comes from living, and to me that makes it more human and more meaningful. So the longer you play the better the music you will produce, no matter what it sounds like!

    There is an old fellow, a WWII radio operator in his late 80's that I talk to on 40, he can hardly move, he has his old TS-530 next to his bed, it has a horrible chirp, drifts, and the tubes are weak, his fist is difficult to copy, but his CW is beautiful because it represents who he is, and what he has done with his many years. Such is the way, I think, with art; your enjoyment of your music is what makes it beautiful for others.

    1. Steve,

      I am pleased to know you are a guy who could find something behind the superficial outlook in things. I agree with you on that idea. I hope to reach a patina of wisdom for myself.

      Recently, we have had an unpleasant event that a swindler who pretended to be a total deaf as well as a nisei of atomic bomb victim bought composition of music from a real composer. The guy has published the works the composer made, which have earned good reputation. The ghost composer has declared the story to the public. The musics could be excellent themselves. But the fame might come from the false characteristics of the swindler.

      It is a little bit different from what you said. But if we emphasize too much of the characteristics not essential to the art, we could be deceived by such a swindler or, if not so wrong, some trivial thing away from the essence.

      Your warm heartedness toward old experienced people is still rare in the world. It has encouraged me as well as my wife. I should brush up myself with cello in order to beat your bug skill in a year as we promised last fall. I won't spoil myself but will do my best.


    2. Shin, more and more you are sharing daily feelings and observations that are beautiful in their humanity. Good stuff. Jim N3BB

    3. Thanks, Jim, for your kind comment.