“Lucky and His Magic Broom”

By John Diamond, M.D.

Someone in Austria told me about Lucky — he played the broom! I eventually found him in a tiny village where he’d farmed all his life.

We spent some hours with him while he played and showed us how to. You hold the broom in your left hand, the stick tilting back at an angle over your left shoulder. As if you were holding a rifle at attention. Then with your right hand, using a little stick, you tap the lower part of the broom and then reaching up and back over your head you tap the upper part which is behind you.

And the tapping is just-so, especially as Lucky did it. Always right on the pulse of the many songs he sang and sang. And all the time he was smiling, as were his family and us. Always smiling — you couldn’t help it when he was playing. He was so happy — we all were.

Sometime later I was to give a lecture of the Healing Power of Music at a very prestigious conservatory in Vienna. And I invited Lucky to give a demonstration to this august group. Mischievous? Yes, I admit that was part of my intention.

Well Lucky turned up — late. And somewhat fortified by schnapps — this was a very big day in his life: to play his broom before all these professors and students of classical music!

And there he stood on the little stage. Playing his broom and singing — and smiling. Utterly incongruous. He in his old clothes and the nattily dressed professors, one even with a bright silk cravat. Two Steinway grands, a harpsichord and a spinnet — and Lucky’s broom!

Some of the students were also smiling, and singing. But not the professors.

And none of the smiling students accepted his offer to teach them. Too afraid of their professors.

Well, Lucky eventually left — he had become increasingly animated, as did the professors — but for a different reason.

Then it was time for the piano professor to play. Not a smile from him or the audience.

I’ve never seen classical pianists smile except when they make a mistake — as if to pacify the audience they fear. (Lucky, of course, never had fear.) I’ve seen many self-satisfied smirks — but never a smile.

Fats Waller of course smiled — and laughed. But that was jazz — and that was Fats.

Lucky wouldn’t know one note from another, let alone a chord — or any of the thousand complexities of what we call music. But he knew farming as well as they knew music.

And he knew how to be happy, how to feel loved — and how to give love.

And that, and nothing less than that, is True Music. It’s more than merely the music the professors know — it’s beyond that music. It’s metaMusic.