When I was five, the technology had not yet been invented that would allow me to fully express myself through music. But that was okay because all I wanted to do was play ball and Atari.
When I was in fourth grade, they gave every student a physical exam and assigned each of us an instrument based on our height, weight, tongue length and whatever else they thought made sense. I felt like I got pretty lucky getting a sax and my dad must of thought it was pretty cool too because he made me pose for this cheesy picture.
As I played the sax throughout grade school, I came to believe that I had no innate ability to compose music. In jazz band I could not improvise. I had to read notes off a page. When my musically gifted friend gave me a music related test as a part of his science fair project, I failed miserably.
I needed a creative outlet while I was in law school so I taught myself how to play acoustic guitar. At first I learned how to play the standards by artists like Bob Dylan and Van Morrison and then I started to write my own songs. I was shocked when I was able to write songs that I thought were pretty good because I had learned in grade school that I couldn’t write music.
After I had written an album’s worth of songs, I was ready to add some new instruments to my strumming and vocals. I bought Apple’s Logic Pro and got to tinkering. Again I was surprised when I was able to put some instruments together and make music.
A few years later, I shared the backing instrumentals of one of my songs with a lovely woman I was courting. She commented that the song could one day make a nice wedding processional.
I happily took the hint and several months later it became our wedding processional. 🤗💖
If you listen to our wedding processional, you’ll notice how it builds with each pass until the trumpets come in at the 3:35 mark, introducing the bride.
When I released our wedding music on iTunes, I chose the artist name, “J. Cohen” instead of my name, “Justin Cohen” because I still could not accept that Justin Cohen was able to compose music. The lessons we learn in grade school can stick with us a long time.
After our wedding, I was ready for a new musical project and I decided to try my hand at lullabies. I felt like they would be relatively easy to write compared to the complexity of the wedding music and hopefully they would come in handy one day if we were blessed with children.
My first crack at a lullaby was a violin duet. I pictured two violinists standing over a bassinet, pouring their souls into the music that would soothe the sweet baby inside. Here it is:
What do you think?
I liked it as a piece of music but the general consensus was that it wasn’t particularly soothing. Obviously a deal breaker for a lullaby.
I questioned my premise that two violinists would be the ideal soothers.
I swapped out the violins for pianos and the result was a song you may be familiar with, Tiptoe Duet, which appears as the final track on Delicate: Piano Lullabies.
It’s a good thing I started writing lullabies when I did because it wasn’t long before we welcomed Sophie into the world.
I discovered that I really enjoyed writing piano music for children. I wrote some songs that were lullabies and I wrote others that were meant for imaginative play, with titles like “Mouse About the House” and “Walk in the Woods.”
Nicole told me that the imaginative play songs were nice but she needed more lullabies. Being a sleep deprived dad, I understood completely and focused on writing piano lullabies until the album, Delicate: Piano Lullabies was complete.
We’ve been soothing our growing family for eight years with these lullabies.
If you use Delicate: Piano Lullabies to soothe your family, thank you for letting us share an intimate space in your home. 😘