I love this song and have wanted to play it for 25 years, ever since I heard it on KCSM radio in the SF Bay Area.
There were a number of obstacles: the written music is not readily available. The song is in a musical range best suited to men with low voices. I’m not in a band. My spanish was not proficient.
Recently I received our family's first piano, a gift from my late grandfather. It made a zig-zag journey from Oakland, CA to Indianapolis before finding its way to my Houston studio. What better motivation to pursue my own repertoire dreams?
When motivating students to play piano in between lessons, I speak of music as a precious flame that is lit during lessons. As a student plays piano in between our meetings, the flame stays lit, and perhaps burns even more strongly. By the time our next lesson comes around, a student simply reveals to me the lit flame of their learned song, which powers our exploration of the next piece.
My dream song took steady dedication to work up even to this point (an ongoing work in progress!). The biggest challenge, was in finding the music—you might notice from the photo below it’s a jazz-style chart, with chord names written in letters over the music-note melody.
Sleuthing complete, I made a step-by-step plan to learn the bass line and the chords that go with it in a rhythm that pleases me and sounds something like the full-band version. With a few minutes of work at a time, a few days a week, over numberous weeks, I put together an arrangement that I enjoy playing and singing.
This is my goal for all my students: to enjoy music as a life practice. Short periods of home play (aka practice) add up over time to make any desired skill easier—masterful, even. What is something you would like to learn (in music or not!), that seems big and overwhelming right now? Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know!
Elisabeth C. Swim
Playful Mindful Music Guide