Back in the day, long ago, I was a fledgling pianist. I loved playing the instrument and joining in with my dad and his brothers. All were talented and played a variety of instruments. I won’t say we were the best music group ever, but I know we made a joyful noise, had fun and were always delighted in just being together. I still love all kinds of music, and just opening the lid on the old spinet thrills me. The flood of memories that pour out of that piano are incredible.
Today, as I was contemplating what I wished to share with you, some of those memories came bubbling up. There is one in particular that I would like to focus on. I had music lessons for many years—and just that was an adventure itself, as I got to walk to my music teacher’s house every Friday afternoon, alone, for my lesson. It was three blocks in a small town where everyone knew everyone else, and people visited on their front porches. The whole town looked after the children. To me, it was the most exciting adventure of a lifetime when I began to travel such a distance, solo, at the tender age of five.
I loved my music teacher and she made certain that I developed the rudimentary skills needed to master the instrument. We ran scales to help my hands grow limber and flexible and played the classics to teach me music theory and how to read the language of music makers. She also encouraged me to venture into the world of playing what I felt. That was the true gift!
I had so many wonderful dreams that have come true through the years, and they are an echo in the music that I play. Expressing my feelings, values and beliefs with music has been a way of life. Music has even aided me in handling difficult challenges and grief. My sons laugh today, recalling that if Mom was play Wagner when they came home from school as teenagers, it was wise to give her a wide berth until she finished. There was a period when I got “too busy” to play and, it took several years to realize how much I missed it as my go-to coping technique for keeping life in perspective.
During the unsettling events of 2020, I spent significant time at the piano, and it was indeed helpful. That was a huge, positive thing that has come out of the pandemic for me. In the midst of all the change, much of which I did not like, I found the way to rekindle my hope and excitement. My dream was the same, but the path to fulfill it had been blocked and another way had to be found. Bemoaning the situation did not help.
As I sat down to play the first time after quarantine, I recalled the magic of my senior recital. Most students were playing complicated classical pieces by great composers but those did not excite me. In her wisdom, my teacher told me to select a different route. What a life lesson to carry forward. I found a path to the goal that was exciting and worked for me. I played selections from the score of “The Sound of Music” by Rodgers and Hammerstein and earned a standing ovation.
Keep walking your own happy talk. I will be applauding!
I Care, Barb