This eight-year-old boy just saved the piano recital from itself

Dylan_Spoering_Tony_Franklin.jpg
Photo by Tony Franklin
Dylan Spoering, an eight-year-old in south Minneapolis, just saved the piano recital from its own creeping death.

That's not an exaggeration. Piano recitals are among the worst forms of entertainment and performance ever concocted this side of tarring and feathering. The amount of humiliation, anguish, and uncomfortable dress shoes tied up in these sad affairs has got to stop right away.

This past weekend, Spoering proved that a piano concert in the rain is a far bigger draw than sitting in your average church assembly room with moldy low-pile maroon carpet while a rogue's gallery of young pianists -- many appearing against their will -- attempt "Chopsticks" and "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring." Imagine that.

Spoering had help for Saturday afternoon's concert, which was held on his family's stoop near Mueller Park. Musician Tommy Rehbein (Farewell Continental, International Karate, Party House) lives in the neighborhood and saw a handmade sign created by the young ivory tickler earlier in the week. A Facebook invite later, hundreds of folks were interested -- including several members of the local media. They made signs to cheer on the young Spoering, and treated the day like a miniature festival outing. It even ended up on UStream.

For the 10-minute show, the audience was excited, supportive, and absolutely gleeful to be in the presence of a musician they knew nothing about. Spoering's songs -- ostensibly cribbed from instructional piano books -- came off like short bursts of oft-atonal noodling, somewhere in the realm of experimenters like Jandek or John Cage. It was a liberating moment that put this young artist at the forefront, instead of some graying piano teacher turning the page and monitoring the performance as if an unattended student would otherwise set fire to his instrument.



Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

As music fans, we love everything a piano recital is not. Jerry Lee Lewis, Quintron, Tori Amos, and Gregg Allman are among the countless rock musicians proving that a keyboard can be a high-wire act. The best from the classical world -- Lang Lang immediately comes to mind -- are doing the same. Cat Power performing at a piano with her back to the audience ramps up the emotional tension of the performance, but the same can't be said for so many slouching, paranoid youngsters in khakis afraid to miss a note of "Butterfly Kisses."

Next: My personal experience with piano recitals


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19 comments
lauralynkozlowski
lauralynkozlowski

There is no doubt the little guy has some cognitive issues of some sort but what I don't understand is why all the hate? Thefourthvictim...you are just a sad sack of negativity.

Vincent Hopwood
Vincent Hopwood

*shrugs* Beats the hell out of the breathless, hyper-inflated coverage of the latest shooting or traffic accident.

thefourthvictim
thefourthvictim

totally unimportant story.

saw it on the news and thought "Why is this news?"

viral videos are stupid and so is this story.

write about something important.

mpls_david
mpls_david

Was hoping for more usage of the word "pianist" in this article. Disappointed...

Laura Dishongh Beckham
Laura Dishongh Beckham

I have been on the embarrassing end of many dreadful, ego scarring piano recitals.

Susan Hamre
Susan Hamre

Obviously none of these people had kids

Jeff Young
Jeff Young

More of the media and social networks tripping over themselves to race to anything any kid does anywhere just because it's a kid.

lauralynkozlowski
lauralynkozlowski

@thefourthvictim  It is called a human interest story....I know it may not interest you but it is rather heart warming....for those who have hearts...


HatinOnKidz
HatinOnKidz

Great. An old white guy whining about a cute story about a kid doing something small but positive. That's some well-placed anger there, grandpa.

HatinOnKidz
HatinOnKidz

@thefourthvictim Nope. What is sad is when some angry troll spends time smack-talking people who are happy for a kid who did something fun. Calm down. Go outside. Get a life. Not every article written is going to be "important" in the way that you want it to be. You realize we're on a music blog, right?

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