Not Everyone is a Musical Genius


We saw a most amazing performance by a young pianist/composer/double bass player, Liam Kaplan, who is fifteen years old. He attends Mannes Music School in Manhattan, like Max. They are both sophomores at Montclair High School and they were both members of the Jazz Band at Glenfield Middle School. Last evening, Liam played Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, Book One…I think I got all that down right. Anyway, he played these pieces, all gazillion of them, for two hours straight. There was one brief intermission halfway through. Liam had memorized every single piece, no sheet music….all the Bach music in his head…through to his fingers…to the piano keys… to our ears. We were honored to be in the audience (Max, Scott and I). And, we were mesmerized by the performance. Just mesmerized.

At intermission:

Max: He’s a genius. The kid is a genius.

Cassie: I love his ponytail hair.

Max: Mom!

Cassie: And his playing! Oh my God. He’s magnificent. But he looks like Mozart or something with the hair.

Max: Pffft. My brain totally hurts. Are we clear that I am never going to be a musical genius?! I like to play trumpet and all. I love being in an orchestra but that…what he just did? That… I could never do.

Cassie: You don’t want to spend three years memorizing all those pieces and give a trumpet recital for two hours straight?

Max: Umm no. Anyway, I’d blow out my lips for sure.

Cassie: Well I love hearing you play, whenever you play, for however long you play. In performance or rehearsal. I just love it. I think you are a gifted trumpet player, Max.

Max: Maybe. But I’m not a genius.

Cassie: Fine by me.

Max: Good. Just needed to get that off my chest.