An Early Recording


Shortly after my family moved from our duplex in Oakland to our house in Oakland, the summer after first grade, we came across a yard sale, in a church parking lot, that was over, with everything that had not sold saying "free" on it. And there was a piano there. And I walked up to it, as if in a trance, and knew I had to have it. My parents moved it to our house and I immediately began teaching myself to play. Like the pieces I write (my words that I have not shared here), it felt like something I was born to do. From the earliest of ages, I played for hour upon hour each day, and still do. It felt, and feels, as necessary as breath to me. I have written music as well for it since I was very young, and still write my music too, and, like the pieces I write (my words that I have not yet shared), and beyond loving the people I love in this life, these are the reasons, for me, that I am here. They are my love and my joy and my reason – they are simply my favorite things to do…

So, even when we would visit my grandparents in Illinois, like in the photos that I shared with you yesterday, I just had to play. A day did not feel right if it was a day I did not play. Fortunately, they had a piano at their house, and I would bring whatever music I was working on at the time, and work on it at the piano in their living room. (The picture, below, is of the top of that piano, with the photos on the wall above it, in their living room). At the time the picture of me, up top, in my grandparents' backyard, was taken, I was working on a piece by Debussy that I had not yet fully memorized and still used the sheet music for. I went into the living room to play, and I began playing the piece, thinking I was alone, not realizing that my Grandpa had come in, gotten out his tape recorder, and begun recording me play. He gave me the tape, afterwards, and it is a treasure. I was so very young at the time, and it is the earliest recording of me playing. I kept the tape all these years, and today I am sharing this early recording of me playing with you. It is not about the audio quality – it was recorded onto an old tape player/recorder by my Grandpa decades ago, then recorded the other day from my own tape player onto the computer directly with no audio editing at all. But it is a treasure - because it is the earliest recording I have of me, a young girl, who loved to play, who had to play, who lived to play...and who still does to this day...

You can listen to it right here, below...a piece by Debussy played by me when I was very young. The very beginning of the piece is not there, as my Grandpa had not yet begun recording it when I first started playing the piece, so it starts abruptly a little bit into the piece, and also ends abruptly and cuts off as he hit stop on the recording a tiny bit early, but, regardless, it is special to me as it is my earliest recording of me playing, that I wanted to share. To hear it, on the bar below that says, "Mrs. Livings: Early Childhood Recording," just hit play: