Hi my name is Julian Harnish. I studied piano performance in college, and now that I am out of college I am building this website – findyourmelody.com.
I’ll start by listing what this website is not about
- It’s not about making you the best possible musician. I fear the pressure to be exceptional is already harmfully extreme in Western culture.
- It’s not about learning piano, the fastest way possible. Many other websites/courses/apps will help you achieve that end.
- It’s not about worshiping music. I am aware of the depth that music adds to our life, but think there are greater goods to strive for in a world full of sick, hungry, tired, homeless, and traumatized individuals.
Find Your Melody, is about learning and sharing music in a joy filled way. In my life there are three main categories that I have found joy in music.
- Joy found in the music making process itself. There are so many emotions to explore!
- Joy in finding and overcoming small challenges.
- Joy found in the exquisite (terrifying?) vulnerability of sharing the music most dear to me.
Are there any you would add to the list?
For now the scope of this website involves publishing a weekly, well researched, article on beginner piano topics such as scales, arpeggios, chords, etc. In each article I try to give one unique tip on learning the concept in a joy-filled way.
I would like to share more about the life events that have led to my musical tastes. I would like to share my melody.
My melody is lyrical.
In forth grade I began playing the cello and in fifth I began the oboe. These instruments are very lyrical. In addition I grew up in a Mennonite church. The services have a traditional slant so we sang four-part, often a Capella hymns. Harmony was an important part of church services and formed my musical tastes. So part of me yearns for that lyrical, choral sound.
Meet Ola Gjeilo, a Julliard grad, and one of my musical heroes. I love his choral music that is bursting with timeless melodies. He has an almost cinematic feel, but isn’t tied to a movie script, so he can prioritize musical form over dramatic effect. As a result the melodies are treated carefully, and meld together seamlessly. He has this interesting way of increasing tension not by introducing excess dissonance, as is the hype with many modern classical composers, but by transforming and weaving together his gorgeous melodies like a tapestry.
My melody is simple and folk-like.
My mother, the daughter of missionaries, grew up until age six in Brazil.
Some of the earliest CD’s and tapes I remember were of Brazilian Bossa Nova style music, Andean folk music with pan pipes and charango, and Bobby McFerrin’s Medicine Man. All non-electronic, organic folk (or folk-like) music. So now I have a hankering for folk music of all types.
I love and resonate with some of Béla Bartók’s ideas on folk music. “[Folk] melodies are therefore the embodiment of an artistic perfection of the highest order; in fact, they are the models of the way in which a musical idea can be expressed with utmost perfection in terms of brevity of form and simplicity of means” (reference Bela Bartok and Turn of the Century Budapest, pg 106).
The idea that perfection is not found in the labs of the erudite, but in the fields of the common as melodies are past from hand to hand and purged of unnecessary embellishments, until a single unforgettable melody emerges is extremely compelling to me.
It makes sense then that I am a sucker for Blanco White, a folk fusion artist that seamlessly integrates Andean folk music (he uses a Charango which looks like a ukulele), Flamenco style guitar strumming, and Celtic influences. He creates such melancholy heartfelt music!
My instrument is piano. Now that you know more about me, perhaps you will understand the type of music that I like to compose. Listen to this composition that I shared at a house concert a while back and consider whether it sounds like what you would expect given my background.
Does it add up? From the little that you know of my story, does it make sense that I love making this type of music?
I am glad to have shared a little about myself with you, and I hope that you may be inspired to find and share your melody! Your musical taste is a mini-autobiography. Share it with the world. Trust me the world needs to hear it!