Smell the Roses, Blow Out the Candle
For Solo Piano (2023)
The title "Smell the Roses, Blow Out the Candle" evokes a breathing exercise that encourages us to delve into deep, calming breaths. Envision cradling an imaginary rose in one hand and holding an ethereal, flickering candle in the other. Inhale, as if savoring the fragrance of the roses, and exhale, gently extinguishing the candle's flame. Let your breath flow in through your nose and out through your mouth, relishing each moment.
I remember encountering this exercise as a substitute teacher in vibrant Los Angeles. I found myself in charge of a TK class, the youngest of the little ones, where the teaching assistant guided them through this ritual just before story time on the cozy, class rug. To my surprise, the children enthusiastically embraced this activity. I think I even witnessed some of them independently employing the exercise during moments of heightened tension or volatile emotions, likely during their playtime. Though they may not have possessed the words to express it, I strongly believe that they intuitively understood the profound influence that breathing has over our emotional and mental well-being.
As adults, we often neglect this vital connection. "Smell the Roses, Blow Out the Candle" serves as a gentle meditation, reminding us of the cyclical nature of our breath and its significance. It beckons listeners to momentarily surrender themselves to the soothing rhythm of their breath and mindfully engage, not merely with the musical composition's development (of which there is very little), but with its evolution through each ‘breath’ cycle. As the harmonies descend, seeking a sense of groundedness, they create a gravitational pull that draws the audience into a microcosm where nothing exists beyond the music's soothing repetitions.
Just as the "smelling the roses" and "blowing out the candle" exercise teaches individuals to connect inwardly with their breath, "Smell the Roses, Blow Out the Candle" seeks to transport the audience into the gentle, pulsating rhythm of their own existence, intricately intertwined with the music's tranquil yet transformative journey. It invites them to escape from the chaos of daily life and immerse themselves in a space where serenity prevails and the breath becomes a gateway to too often neglected introspection.