Clementine's Song

Clementine came to my studio when she was only eight years old. She and her mother often held hands and kissed good-bye, then Clementine would quietly enter, whisper hello, and sit down on the piano bench.

She was one of those students who I never “taught.” I might have guided her, but her natural ability with music allowed quick learning, the easy interpretation of pieces, and improvisations that originated in her fertile imagination. When she improvised, I could always hear her signature sound. This sound matched the way her entire body emoted. She looked like a waving palm tree in the warm breeze of a tropical climate. No effort. All flow. “Clementine's Song” incorporates a piece that she improvised when she was 10 years old. I recorded it and later morphed it through software, adding cello and my own piano playing. It became one piece in a larger show called Listening Between the Worlds. The show begins with this evocative question: How might your life have been different—once when you were somewhat older than young, struggling to fulfill what you thought ought to be done—if you had slowly walked away from the noise crowding in on you until you heard, from within yourself, a silence you had almost forgotten? As a child, Clementine lived in this world of timelessness where the imagination gives rise to new possibilities. I will be forever grateful to her for this reminder.

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