"When you give, you don't lose. You gain more by giving." That's what my mom always told me. I didn't understand it until many years later, and the latest example happened last week.
I judged a couple of piano competitions in a space of less than 1 month. The latter, in Bandung, used my new book “Alicia’s First Piano Book” as the obligatory pieces; hence each participant should choose one among the 35 solo pieces to be played in the semifinal round. I was touched how they treated my piece as anything BUT obligatory. In fact, after the competition finished, so many people (teachers, participants—including the ones who didn’t win any prizes, and people among the public) came to me and said how they enjoyed the pieces and thank me for my contribution to the piano repertoire for the young. And I discovered that many piano teachers have used them for teaching purposes, nothing to do with the competition.
Now, of course I am honestly happy that my book has sold hundreds of copies (in fact Chendra my manager is gonna re-publish a second edition of 1000 copies very soon). Another happy discovery is that apparently no Indonesian composers have done explicitly pieces for the young, so this is the first Indonesian “Album for the young”, “Children’s Corner” or “Mikrokosmos” or whatever you wanna call it. But the thing that made me happy the most is that I have given something which made those children enjoy playing the piano. And this is all thanks to my little daughter, Alicia. It was her who made me write all those pieces. In fact, one piece in that book called “12 Haiku” was commissioned by her … for 1 euro! (I think I wrote about this in this blog, you can check it out in my previous entries about 1 year ago). Apart from that, all the pieces are written without any money involved. That’s what you call, literally, “for the love of it”.
And I must confess, there is another thing that made me happy, but let me tell you one thing first. A few years ago, the ABRSM commissioned many composers from many countries a short piece to be compiled in their book “Spectrum”. I contributed a very short and easy (well, that was the requirement of the commission) piece called “Gentle Darkness”. Later on the commissioner told me that my piece is among the most popular & often played by students ….but none of them who played my piece is Indonesian!! Indonesian young pianists always choose other composers’ pieces from that book. So that shows my (un-)popularity in my own country ….and my narcissist instincts told me that it is not because my piece is inferior than the other pieces in that book!
But my book (or shall I say Alicia’s?) proved it wrong.
I have had fantastic performances of my music. Some of them sound even better than what I had imagined. But nothing, I tell you, nothing gives greater happiness than your own daughter playing your own music, especially music written especially for, and with her in our minds (or sometimes even sitting on my lap). And I have a hunch that she will inspire “Alicia’s SECOND piano book” (at least, there are already several pieces written for the next book).