My name is Selwyn Gordon Silberblatt. I was named after Alwyn Gordon Levy – a friend of my father who was killed in World War I. I grew up on Long Island, New York. In 1967, I graduated from Columbia College with a concentration in Art History.
I took up the trumpet at the age of 36 after I saw a guy playing at a club - and I thought “That looks like so much fun – I want to do that.” So I bought a trumpet, took a few lessons – and I was off on my musical odyssey.
I didn't want to be tied to written music. I wanted to play by ear. That looked like a lot more fun to me. My teacher told me to “learn my 7th chords in all 15 keys." I wrote them all out and thought “how am I going to memorize these? This is impossible --- and what if I succeed? What will I have to memorize next? My major 7th chords? My minor 7th chords? My diminished 7th chords? Where will it end?”
My Eureka moment came when I realized that the notes of the chords formed visual patterns and that I could make pictures of these patterns. And thus was born Selwyn's Mnemonic Music Paintings.
Since then, I injured my sinuses by blowing the trumpet too hard and I've had to give it up. My current love affair is with the ukulele. I play with a group at the Waterville, Maine Public Library. We play for the elderly and disabled. They are wonderful audiences as they are uncritical and very appreciative. I love the ukulele because it is very easy to play and enjoy at an amateur level. I am an amateur and will always be an amateur. But my LOVE for playing transcends my limited skill. It is that LOVE that I want to share.
© 2018 Selwyn Silberblatt