How a stammering conference inspired my piano piece

 8th July 2022

Paul Goldstein tells us how the togetherness he felt whilst attending a stammering conference in the USA inspired him to compose a piece of music.

'Vibrations' is a stuttering-related musical work I wrote in 1994 after attending a New Hampshire regional conference of the U.S. National Stuttering Association (NSA, which was then called the National Stuttering Project, NSP).

At the conference, I was sitting listening to everyone speak and absorbing all the exuberance in the interactions and the very friendly atmosphere around me. There was a great sense of positivity in the room, and the vibrations of speech sounds were buzzing with enthusiasm and camaraderie. I was inspired to compose a piece of music — inspired not only by the sound vibrations, but a vibrancy of spirit that reverberated throughout the room as people felt instant bonding with one another.

The piano piece 'Vibrations' is my attempt to capture the bright energy and positive outlook generated by the gathering.

When the conference ended, the music was in my head as I travelled back to my then-home in Massachusetts. Then the piece pretty much composed itself over the next few days as I notated the score.

The piano piece 'Vibrations' is my attempt to capture the bright energy and positive outlook generated by the gathering, with people who stutter coming together to celebrate life, and gain motivation to bravely face their challenges of everyday communication. The repeated sounds are not only those of stuttering, but also the sounds of uplifted spirits of vibrancy (watch Paul perform the piece below).

But it was eight years before I performed the piece in public, when I played it at the Stuttering and Cluttering's national conference in Oslo, Norway, on March 10, 2002. Later it was used as music for a video about stuttering produced by members of the NSA.

It is a piece that has a very special place among my creations, as it's my only composition specifically based on stuttering.

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