About the Author

Bob Wiseman

Books by this Author
Music Lessons


Little girl asked if I could show her Mary Had a Little Lamb.


No problem.




Really, select a note any note.


She pressed F. We started ma/ry/had (F, D# C#), she worked it a few times.


She said I like to make things up.


That’s a sign of a composer. Let’s make something up.






We played a little improvisation then changed her mind returned to Mary Had a Little Lamb. Kept attacking the notes vertically with her fingers and wrist in the same line like a knife stabbing. Asked her to try balancing a miniature plate on her hand which made her hands horizontal with the keys more pianistic but this was also a little exhausting. Took a break and made small talk, she has a lot to say. Wishes she could speak French but her school won’t allow it until she’s in grade 6. She said her parents both speak other languages and when she was younger in daycare she could count to 30 in Chinese.


Could I hear you count in Chinese?


I don’t remember anymore. You know what else? My parents were going to take me to China one time but they changed their mind at the airport so we didn’t go.






Did you know the black notes on the piano are a scale that is used in a lot of Chinese music?




Really. Let’s make something up on the black notes, play anything just black notes and I’ll back you up.






Proceeded to make something slow, melodic and pentatonic. Her mother noticed from the kitchen and walked into the room listening and beaming that her daughter was doing this.


I said to the mother I heard you guys almost went to China. She looked at her daughter and then me,


We’ve never been to China. I don’t know why she makes things up like that.


Should I or shouldn’t I tell her? Kid’s a composer just practising making it up.


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