You are expecting a rant about summer, aren’t you? You know it’s not my favorite season. But I am talking about Summertime by George Gershwin from Porgy and Bess.
Tod & I are learning to play it in our music lessons. Our lessons with Huw that started out as ukulele instruction for me and piano for Tod but recently turned into joint lessons where we are learning to play together.
Playing together is really a challenge. Tod has been improvising jazz since he was a kid so he gets into his groove and gets lost in the flow of notes. I am a beginner at music and have a limited set of skills. Trying to do things in concert is interesting for both of us. Tod has to listen to what I am doing, and I have to learn about a million better ways to play. All while looking at each other, staying on tempo, and creating a pleasing performance without making mistakes.
So back to Summertime. I imagine you know at least the opening lyrics: summertime…and the living is easy. It’s been a popular song for decades. According to a group of Summertime fans, Summertime Connection, there are over 40,000 public performances of this song.
But until I learned to sing the whole thing I didn’t realise it was a lullaby. I hadn’t seen Porgy and Bess, not even the movie version. I’ve seen the clip of this song now, thanks to YouTube.
It’s a lovely song to sing and delightful to play. Tod finds endless variations on it. We practice it a lot. By the time the summer is over, I think we will have a properly good piece to play together.
My house rule is no practice after 9pm or before 9 am so the neighbors won’t complain. But it’s 9 am and I am ready to limber up my fingers and run through this a few times before breakfast.