I spent last weekend in British Columbia playing and recording music with a band that we formed many years ago when we were students at the University of Saskatchewan. During the past several years we've met twice a year to practice and play informal gigs.
This gathering included a recording session at Turtle Recording, White Rock, BC ('BC's Ocean-Front Studio').Turtle believes in quality work using ultramodern and classic equipment. I played a Yamaha grand (with three microphones, skillfully placed); there was also a Hammond B3 and a Fender Rhodes within reach. Keyboard heaven, with the option of recording digitally or on tape.
This was my first – and our first – studio recording session and it was more successful that we imagined it could be. The process was a learning experience, and the product is a CD that we can share and treasure. It's not for sale, but we'll be giving it to friends and relatives.
In the meantime we'll each play it in our cars and on our iPods, listening carefully, perhaps compulsively, to every note we played.
The clarity and the precision of the recording surprised us. We now look forward to doing this again.
On the flight home I talked to a woman who learned to play the flute after her children had gone to college. She loved being able to play the pieces that she wanted to play, and to play with a group of friends. She dared to become a middle-aged novice musician and showed herself and everyone else around her that one can learn music at any stage in life.
Music reaches out to all of us, young and old. Those who accept the challenge of playing and learning will find that it enriches their lives. It may or may not help us to live longer – but I know that it enriches my life and the lives of my fellow musicians.