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Love is Blue(s): Corky Siegel’s story

Corky Siegel shares the wondrous journey of his life and his tackle studying music

Corky Siegel shares the wondrous journey of his life and his tackle studying music

“When somebody compliments you in your music, simply say thanks and cease criticising your self. Play your music, play no matter makes you cheerful,” says Corky Siegel, musician and singer-songwriter. In a dialog peppered with good humour, there’s an unbridled pleasure as he recounts his uncommon foray into the world of blues and blues-rock. At 78, his zest to share his music and data stays undiminished; he’s as gleeful as a toddler sharing a secret when speaking about his success as a musician.

“I name it a secret since it’s one thing which appears destructive. In actuality, it’s one of the vital constructive issues in my life,” he says, happening to recount how he didn’t possess the mandatory abilities to grow to be a musician.

“I cherished music and I even took classes however I didn’t do very nicely. I used to be nearly 20 after I realized in regards to the blues which is constructed on the framework of a simplified type of music. I realised early on that I lacked what was wanted to play music. But, after I heard the blues I fell in love with it — its emotion, expression, rhythm.”

“I began studying little by little and as a substitute of mastering a whole track, I’d take one phrase and play it time and again for months.”

Corky says his unorthodox method of studying, ‘from the alternative finish’ is just not how one historically learns music the place a concentrate on concept and technique dulls the enjoyment of having the ability to play. “Nonetheless, that’s been my strategy to music,” he says.

Corky Siegel
| Picture Credit score: Particular Association

At the same time as he was discovering his groove, Corky and his good friend, guitarist Jim Schwall, started making waves. They have been taking part in the blues at a time and place when not too many white individuals accepted it as severe music.

Regardless of the years and his roaring success, Corky hasn’t misplaced that sense of marvel over the turns his life has taken. There isn’t a mistaking the amazement in his voice as he talks about how his idol Howlin’ Wolf got here along with his household to look at him play. Or how a membership common turned out to be maestro Seiji Ozawa of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra who supplied the Siegel-Schwall band the prospect to tour with them.

Or violinist L Subramaniam’s insistence that Corky play along with his orchestra. “It was 1999, and regardless of my repeated protests that I used to be only a budding blues individual, L Subramaniam who was vising Chicago didn’t take ‘no’ for a solution. He wrote a easy, but complicated piece for me and although I practised the very best I might; on the live performance all I did was shut my eyes and play. And after the live performance, Subramaniam stated he wished me to tour with him.”

Corky admits he usually questioned what made established musicians need to associate with them. “Why did they select us? I suppose there was an innocence, slightly little bit of a uniqueness and an lack of ability to repeat another person’s type.”

He confesses that he did strive although. “Early on, I used to be making an attempt to play Roland Kirk solos. I wished to be Howlin’ Wolf. Finally, I found out that I simply wished to play; that I used to be my greatest after I was doing what was best for me. I discovered the issues I cherished that have been straightforward after which developed on them.”

Corky says that’s the best takeaway from his life. “It’s all about expression and that’s what I attempt to impart to those that really feel they don’t have the talents or that they will’t play music,” he says.

Corky Siegel at the piano

Corky Siegel on the piano
| Picture Credit score: Particular Association

Nonetheless he clarifies that he doesn’t need to detract from the achievements of those that do comply with a extra structured strategy to music. “It’s most likely the very best strategy, however I used to be not ready to make use of it and there could also be others who’re unable to make use of it too.“

“In my 40 years of doing workshops for all devices and genres, I haven’t come throughout an individual and not using a soul for music, even when they didn’t realize it themselves. You needn’t level it out to them — simply information them and they’re going to ultimately detect to it themselves.”

As a music teacher, Corky says he dislikes using the phrase ‘expertise’ because it implies some individuals possess it, whereas others don’t. “It’s the humanities. It’s the one factor in our lives the place we are able to specific ourselves with out borders or situations. But, we superimpose our insecurities on the harmless music kind that welcomes everybody. All it desires to do is convey the world collectively. Nicely, the excellent news is regardless of all we’re doing, it’s nonetheless bringing individuals collectively,” he laughs joyously.

Is one ever too outdated to play an instrument? “I believe it’s potential that you simply is perhaps too outdated to learn to pole vault,” his laughter is contagious. In keeping with him the keyboard and the harmonica are maybe the best to study just because the are so immediately rewarding. “You can don’t have any data of music and nonetheless create stunning sounds on these devices. And there’s just one requirement to play the harmonica — you’ve to have the ability to breathe,” he laughs once more and provides, “Nicely, truly that’s true for the keyboard too.“

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