Tim Falconer Faces the Music


Falconer explores why so many of us love music but so few of us can sing @ Masionneuve.

That piano was mocking me, I’m sure of it.

A few years ago, I went on a writer’s retreat at the Banff Centre. My studio featured a Bluthner baby grand piano, which I had to water. Seriously. That part of Alberta has an arid climate—it was an especially hot, dry summer, too—and pianos require a certain level of humidity to prevent the wood from warping. A couple of times a week, I filled a small plastic watering can, stuck its long spout into the baby grand’s internal humidifier and poured. I did this chore cheerfully, but otherwise I never touched the piano. That’s because, although I love music, I don’t play any instruments; in fact, I didn’t even sing back then, because I was tone deaf.

Or so I’d always thought. One day, as I worked at my desk beside the piano, listening to music on my Bose speakers, I wondered how someone with ten thousand songs on his computer could be tone deaf. It was baffling. When I hosted a musicale at the studio—my way of ensuring the baby grand’s keys didn’t go untickled—several opera singers showed up, and I asked them. They scoffed at the idea. One even offered to prove me wrong.
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