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Interview with Shirley Cason
by Edward Weiss - Quiescence Music.com

Shirley Cason's talent was discovered by accident when her brother injured his hand. Her parents bought him an theater organ to help rebuild the dexterity in his hand. It was during that time that Shirley took an interest in music from listening to her brother play. Years later... her Mom decided to purchase Shirley her first synthesizer. Four more keyboards followed, enabling her to expand her sounds. More info below.


Edward: How Did You Get Started Playing New Age Piano?

Shirley: I began playing the organ at age 4. My talent was discovered by accident when my brother injured his hand. My parents bought him a theater organ to help rebuild the dexterity in his hand so he learn how to re-used it. Through my teenage years, I took piano, accordion, and drum lessons. During that time my Mom decided to purchase me my first synthesizer. Four more keyboards then followed, enabling me to expand my sounds and record more orchestra arrangements.

In high school I was in the singing choir group which performed mostly classical pieces for the school concerts. Mr. Eckstein was our choir conductor. His musical theory classes influenced my piano music greatly. He had the high school board allow him to conduct college level music theory classes for students that really wanted to learn how to write and score and arrange music. The goal of these theory I and II music classes were to be able to hear the music in your head... then write and score it on paper while sitting in your chair in the class room! My piano studies then moved onto more standard classical compositions during this as well.

After completing college, I told myself that I would buy any keyboard I wanted, so I bought the Kurzweil 2500. Then for 6 months I just recorded what came to my heart and from there I looked at the music business to try figured out where my music would best fit in. I came to the conclusion that New Age Piano would be the best arena for the compositions for my first CD, "Forever In Bloom." Becoming a New Age Pianist was the natural thing for me to be!


Edward: What Inspires and Informs Your Music?

Shirley: During my teenage years, life dealt me my first tragic blow; my Mom became ill and passed away. After high school, I then joined a band called QUEST and we toured the U.S. and the Virgin Islands. Yet, shortly after coming home from this tour, life was once again would be unkind to me, I lost my major source of inspiration, my father. Years later I lost my sister, then a few years after that, my best friend of 25 years! I bring this up because people write to me and tell me that my music has an deep melodic but peaceful sound to it. I pull these sounds & feelings directly from my heart when I record my music. The lost of these people are deeply rooted in my soul, thus then appear in my music compositions.

The most important thing is to accept who you are. Know what life has been to you! Once you figure that out for yourself, then write about it and record it ! Just remember there are millions of people who feel exactly the same way you do! Only write what you know about. Your audience will find you through your music!

Edward: What Is Your Method for Composing a Piano Piece?

Shirley: Naturally you have got to know your piano music theory! This way when you compose a song, you have the theory tools to create a solid piano piece that makes musical sense. With that in mind .. the music is theoretically correct but people must be able to hear your heart in the melody. All great composers had one thing in common.. People felt their heart strings and emotions through their music


Edward: Do You Get Blocked Creatively, and If So, How Do You Get Past It?

Shirley: Ah. This is a great question! My writers block is subjective in that my mind these pass few years has want me to move on and record a happy album. However, with all the great loses of people in my life these pass few years, my soul / heart was so broken that it kept me in the recording studios creating another album like "Summer Dream" that I wrote for my sister. During this time I have recorded an album titled "The Crossing" which I will not release until I have a couple of soothing CDs in between! I have gone 4 years since the "Winter Mornings" CD, without releasing a CD due to this.

I wouldn't call it writers block per say but definitely writers frustration at its best! :) Finally I was able to work through these personal creative struggles and have finally been able to record a album that has made me even happy to release. It is titled, "Sharing Auras", which the CD will be release at Amazon.


Edard: What Advice Would You Give To Aspiring Pianists?

Shirley: Record from the heart! I truly believe if a song that you write makes you feel love or makes you cry every time you play it millions of people feel it will too when they hear your music! What I do in the studio is this.. I pull in my heart what the songs means to me. Then I visualized and feel that emotion and make it flow from my heart to my hands then down to the piano keys from there just let that baby grand do the talking!