Inner Child

Sept 2016

It was a few days after my chance meeting on the train. I sat at the piano for the first time since returning from a ten-day meditation retreat. I placed my hands on the keys, played one chord and started weeping.

Wow.. that was unexpected. What was I weeping for? Something that I felt this time, that I had lost for a long while? Maybe something I hadn’t ever connected with before. An inner aliveness that yearned to be free and was finally being released. It felt good, like weight being lifted off of me. Gradually, chord by chord, note by note, the tune “Inner Child” started taking shape.

It took a few breaks to regain composure and understand what was happening more clearly. Like shedding layers of skin, or peeling an onion, the piece started emerging, as did my newly-forming connection with music. Some words came along with it: “you are not alone, little child.”

Floating whimsy. Ice cream cones. Fairy tales. The vintage veneer of childhood has a nostalgic innocence and light easiness from the vantage point of adulthood. But for most if not all people it also contains painful memories and not-quite-right interpretations of the world and ourselves that formed our ways to thinking and behaving. These patterns continue on into adulthood, until at some point we think back on what happened and why.. and why not think differently?

While composing the song, I was thinking about these more difficult parts of childhood and growing up. I was thinking about the hurt parts of my child self that were seemingly easier to put away and try to ignore once I grew older. And I was connecting with them… connecting with myself as a child, soothing myself as a child, through the music.

I was also thinking about the conflicts between the child-like innocence you can carry forward in life, and how that meets the real world when you are an adult. The ending section of the song (starting at 3:23) is especially about this for me.. the see-saw chords in the bass and later in the vibes that contain hints of danger and tension, with the sweet and innocent melody on top of it. It’s a combination that can be uneasy at times. But music is a miracle drug. Among the many things it does for us, it heals us. It’s not always easy, but all we have to do is tune in.

I had no idea what was going to happen with this piece when I first started writing. But after composing most of it on piano, I realized at some point during the arranging process that it could work well on vibraphone and started playing around with it. I didn’t have a group to play it with… yet. But it got me thinking.

Inner Child is the first piece I wrote for the album Embrace.
u can get it as an instant download when you pre-order the album on Bandcamp.

And you can stream it most places, here are a couple links:
Apple Music / iTunes

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