"It is music’s ability to carry you directly into the mental state of the composer, not the way your used to thinking, not the way your used to feeling, but like this.."
…I remember the first time I sat down at the piano as if it where yesterday, my soon to be brother in law had shown me my first few chords and explained why they made sense. I thought it would be the first of many lessons; unfortunately his stint in my extended family did not last long due to a short lived marriage between my brother and his new wife. Instead, I would be left alone to find my way in that otherworld that we call musical expression. Of course there wasn’t much expression at the time just the first few steps on a journey that would change my life.
I can almost smell the wood of that old upright, which like a first love will never be replaced or forgotten. We spent many a day together that summer, from morning till dusk, as she called me to learn this new language, of emotion of passion of truth…my truth anyway and although I would not have found the words at the time, somewhere in me, I knew this would be my life. My relationship with music was by no means a whirlwind romance. In a religious household where “secular” music was not allowed, you could count the tapes and CD’s on one hand. Yet somehow I came upon Kenny G’s ‘Breathless’ Album. And after speaking to a friend with my 16yr old enthusiasm on how “cool” it would be to play like that. I was soon entrusted with a family heirloom, an old family heirloom, but still in working order. Me and that saxophone where fast friends, and learning ‘Breathless’ note for note was the beginning of my musical education. 10 years later looking back I’m drawn to those moments alone just figuring it out. Not so much the many sax performances that were to follow. , but those solitary moments alone with the music. You can call it a calling but for me music was a friend, a guide, and a teacher. And on the nights that where to come, some cold, some homeless, some seemingly hopeless at the time, she would be my warm blanket, my shelter, my faith in this life and my place in it.
It was not long after graduation that I would leave my parents house and that old upright to set out on my own ‘suicide way’. I was 19yrs old and headed out to California; 2yrs in college had convinced me that it wasn’t for me. I had begun songwriting and felt there might be a place for me out in the land of dreams an dreamers, also known as the city of angels. Los Angeles, California was everything I thought it would be, but nothing I expected. I spent time at open mic nights, to warm receptions, and even an impromptu concert on Venice beach would follow. But I found myself in a sort of never land of wishes with no plan, and hopes with no ‘how-to’, and playing guitar in Union Station for whatever tips people chose to leave was far from my 1 candle wish. I soon decided I needed time to travel into myself and find the voice that could guide me to those dreams.
A few months spent in Florida working construction by day was enough to tell me there had to be a better way. Although, playing for the crowd at Borders Books and music by night allowed me to hold the vision of where I wanted to be. I would then travel cross country for the third time in my life, settling on the Pacific Northwest, more specifically Portland, Oregon, or more affectionately the city of roses. Portland was good to me, the whole city seemingly reserved for artist not necessarily aspiring towards anything, but driven to create for creations sake. And so I lost myself in that world. Further developing as a pianist, while honing my songwriting, finding the voice I didn’t know I had, and even experimenting with poetry, spoken word, and free verse…every step telling me a little more about who I was, who I wanted to be, where I was, and where I wanted to go. Graduate studies if you will, in the life of an aspiring artist.
It was those aspirations, and an ambition whose origin I cannot place, that finally woke me from my hibernation. The years in Oregon had been well spent, but it was time to return to the world. My journey back started with a van trip thru this western country. From Reno to Vegas, Sacramento to Albuquerque, from the waves breaking on the rocks in San Diego, to those foggy mornings on the Oregon coast where you can’t make out where the ocean meets the land. I made my way back, that time alone with my thoughts allowed me to be reborn into the man I was intended to be, not the one that was expected. And it was only proper that I ended that trip some months later in Oregon, at Lewis and Clark College, in an acoustically perfect hall, on a grand little Steinway, to finally say what was on my heart, not with words, but thru music.
We communicate, and it is such a powerful thing to be able to say what is on your heart and have someone understand. It is the foundation on which all relationships are built. But as close as we come, and as much as I say, am I ever really sure that you know how I feel? It's the reason we say that a book, or a movie, or a work of art means different things to each individual...its filtered through our experiences and takes shape in our consciousness colored by who we are. But it is the very nature of music that allows it to penetrate through the mind untouched, and reach right down to the essence of who we are and say; 'hi my name is Bryan Beadle and this is what it feels like to be me'. That is what I love, and have always loved about this art form, from the first time I picked up a saxophone, to the time I put it down to sit at the piano, it has been the same. To say it so eloquently, so truthfully, so nakedly and without pretense, surely a thing like this is worth spending a life on.