I stared at the black-and-white keys of my new keyboard and wondered what in the world I should do with it. I studied music some 15 years ago, but I scarcely had any memory of it. Could I still read music? Would I have to start from scratch all over again? What did I learn from my teacher–not that I have a single kind thing to say about him. Yes, I do have some memories, but they are vague and incoherent, as though I were watching a dream of someone else’s life.
I rest my hands at middle C. I remember that much. Now what shall I do? Is it like riding a bike? A skill that one apparently never forgets. I have memories of people who hadn’t touched a piano in years and it suddenly coming back to them like a flash of inspiration. As I gazed at the keys of my piano, I didn’t feel inspired at all. I felt a numb nothing.
In all seriousness–exactly what am I supposed to do with this thing?
What in the world possessed me to get back into this in my 30s? In fact, what in the world inspired me to get started in my teens? I had no grand plans to become a concert pianist. Nor did I particularly care to become a rock star or anything of the sort. But music–it is a part of me. I’m the sort of person that can hear the same song over and over again and not get tired of it. Over the years, I have often wondered if musicians got sick and tired of playing the same songs over and over again. I still haven’t found an answer to that question.
Anyways, I digress. I was still convinced that I had no idea how to play!
It was technology to the rescue. I quickly downloaded Simply Piano by JoyTunes.
I couldn’t remember the piano lessons, but from somewhere inside me–I remembered the music. I had started playing to learn my favourite tunes and along the way I had been sidetracked by my piano teacher into memorising theory and studying for ridiculous exams. I didn’t learn to play a single song that I wanted to play. What an expensive waste of time the whole escapade turned out to be.
In either case, in a world of quick fixes and distractions, I believe in the simple art of focusing on one thing over a long period of time. As the author of two books and an Editor-in-Chief, I know it takes writing a lot of garbage before one writes something that is gold. Speak to most editors and they’ll say it takes ten years of continued practise before one becomes a good writer.
As a Piscean, focus is something that doesn’t come easily to me. My mind is often scattered, unable to focus and spends half the time on another planet where no one else is allowed. And yet, Pisceans are the artists of the zodiac. And how do we do it? I really have no idea. I believe it begins with a heart that longs to sing and express itself and all that it has seen and heard in the other realm.
As lovely and beautiful as all that sounds, art is an arduous process. Learning to play a new tune requires considerable practise. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of hearing a neighbour’s piano lessons, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It is not music. It is a ruckus.
And it is no different with me. It truly is a ruckus. A terrible one at that. Definitely not music–not yet, anyway. My timing is awful. I’m still trying to get the hang of sight reading. Treble clef, bass clef–oh yes and I also have to get my hands to make magic happen. The magic is still not happening.
It has only been three days. I wonder what I’ll be like in three months.
Probably not a concert pianist. My only hope is that my heart learns to sing.