Today I was introducing my 12-year-old piano student to a piece called "The Snail and the Cuckoo." It's not a particularly difficult piece, but has some contemporary elements like changing meter and unusual chromaticism. Far from being esoteric, though, it consists of a slow legato phrase (obviously the snail), followed by pairs of staccato eighth notes (obviously the cuckoo's cry). Subtle this piece is not. I was explaining to him that in order to pull it off in performance, one has to imagine what it's like to be a snail, slowly oozing across a leaf, and then imagine what it's like to be a cuckoo, cooing in another bird's nest. I have a somewhat limited knowledge of the animal kingdom, but I told him how cuckoo birds don't build their own nests but take over those of other birds. He thought about it for a few seconds and then said, "So, cuckoos are like half parasites and half imperialistic invading nations?"

He's a bright kid.


Jenn Hacker said…
Yep - bright kid indeed. I'm impressed. Sounds like something Joel would have said at that age. And we all know my Bubby is VERY bright - like, scary smart.

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