Anyone who knows me knows that music is a big part of my background. Unfortunately, it’s taken a back burner in the recent years of my life. But, even though I don’t compose like I used to, music is still an important part of me. It’s something that I’ve shared with my father from a young age and it’s gotten me through some tough times. Toward my final years in high school I aspired to become a music teacher and since then my dream has ultimately been to be an orchestra conductor. Like dreams do for many of us, it fell to the wayside in the midst of inevitable change. But, if one day I won the lottery and could pursue whatever I wanted, that’s what I’d go for.
Music from My Childhood
I have fond memories of riding in the car with my late mother and listening to oldies radio as a boy. I knew the titles, the artists, and a lot of the lyrics to the station’s top songs at the time. Of course, nowadays “oldies” aren’t what they used to be. My idea of oldies music is ’60s rock, not the ’80s stuff you hear on 3Ws (Pittsburgh) today. Something about the feel of classic Beatles songs take me back to a simpler time. I’ve always found it funny that I can say it’s, “what I grew up on”, as if I was alive when it was written. A big part of it is how it reminds me of my mother in her healthy days when I was young. Also, some of the cheesy love songs resonate with me now that I’m in a happy relationship.
Once I was old enough to understand the need for a favorite genre classical filled that position. I was first exposed to it in my childhood by my father. It’s tough to remember exactly when it took hold in me and for what specific reason. Though, I think that movie soundtracks by John Williams laid some major groundwork for my appreciation of the orchestra. I’ve always been an avid fan of movies and growing up with Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and other Williams scores planted some serious seeds. Today I’ve amassed a formidable collection of music spanning many composers and periods. Having gotten into vinyl records I’m currently working on acquiring recordings that were difficult to find on CD. Classical is my favorite because I feel it’s the most expressive. An orchestra has so much ability due to the amount of players and variety of instruments involved.
Jazz is my other favorite type of music. My father is a jazz musician and is the main source of my appreciation for the genre. I grew up listening to a lot of jazz from the ’60s and ’70s – Herbie Hancock, Donald Byrd, Lee Morgan, etc. I have fond memories of sitting at our basement computer as a child and playing old, MS-DOS video games. There I’d often overhear the Blue Note (a common label for jazz I like) albums my dad was playing while working on his motorcycles in the attached garage. Along with classical, jazz is something I’d also hear on the radio in the family car when my father would drive us to dinner. I’ve always liked the different rhythms one finds in jazz.
I don’t understand the jazz genre as a whole as much as I do classical. I’ve also never been much of a jazz composer. Though, I have recorded a good bit with my father. A lot of our recordings are featured on his website at MikeKuvinka.com.
I could go on and on about music, naturally. Any more I try not to focus as much on the music I don’t like. But, I’ll say that my least favorite mainstream genre would have to be country. Specifically the modern stuff wherein they sing about tractors and cowboy boots. I don’t really care for rap either, but I’d listen to it before country. I prefer instrumental music and think a piece should be able to convey emotion without needing words. But, I’ve opened up to some more vocal stuff recently. One pet peeve I can’t overlook is when people say they listen to “everything”. I find it hard to believe that anyone who would attend a country concert listens to, or has ever heard of, klezmer.