Music Well – Dosia McKay, Composer, Painter, Writer

Reflections on Art and Life

Where Does a Talent Come From?

dziadek1Where does a talent come from? It’s a lucky combination of genes, sometimes from the immediate ancestors, and sometimes from generations far beyond our knowledge. Here is a photograph of my grandfather Michał around 1950s in Poland. He was a church organist, an organ builder, a community orchestra conductor, and a music teacher. There is so much I would like to talk to him about, but he died even before I was born.

If I could speak to him now, I would thank him for making my mother and my uncles practice the piano and for teaching them music theory. When I was little and complained about being bored, my mother sang rounds with me. These were my first ear training sessions. And then one day my uncle set with me by the piano and offered to compose a song with me. We (he) made up a couple of verses complete with original lyrics and music and it was a pure delight and magic to see how something so colorful and intricate could be brought up from those mysterious, evenly spaced black and white keys. He later sent me a notebook of staff paper where I wrote my own childish melodies no one knew about. But that’s a whole another story…

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