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
By CAT April 19, 2021
Congrats to you Barb!! Also, reminds me of happier times growing up when my mom always sang with the radio while driving; plus, playing albums at home…”Mitch Miller” and all the classics too!
Like you, had piano lessons then joined band thinking about playing the drums, but instead decided on flute. My daughter played trumpet all through middle Sch., Jr. High, and was selected 1st Chair in HS; plus, chosen to play in the Gator’s Marching Band/B-Ball/Symphonic at UF all the way up to graduation. (Have a Wurlitzer Baby Grand Piano that she practiced on at her grandmother’s house which is now ours due to inheritance. Her childhood piano was gifted to her after she married and was, unfortunately, destroyed after a hurricane that hit the base she was on-Katrina! Extremely thankful she survived–TYG!!)
Certainly brought back lots of positive memories reading about your journey of “Rediscovering the piano” and believe lessons, again, are a possibility. Thanks for being an inspiration, Barb, and looking forward to your session at TOPS IRD ***”CABARET”!!!***
By Phyz Peck March 17, 2021
Thanks for reminding me that I have another way of fending off “the boredoms.” Sometimes I forget that there is more to life with the Covid than reading, TVing and computering! Now, where is that piano?!
By Patty Carter March 16, 2021
Really enjoyed your blog, Barb. I took piano lessons for 5 or 6 years when growing up. Brings back memories. Singing is my favorite thing to do though. My sister and I used to sing and harmonize while she played the guitar, for ourselves and my parents. I have been in numerous choirs and love singing in a group and learning the parts. I also sang a couple of solos in church. Music is such a wonderful part of my life. Thanks for the reminder. For now I will just keep listening to music on Spotify and sing with it as choirs are not happening now. Hopefully I can join a choir again before too long.
By Sylvia Duncan March 16, 2021
Yes,, music. I decided to get out my guitar and then try to pick out old songs I really liked. I also sing old songs whilst exercising around the house .Now I will be singing “The hills are alive with the sound of music” because you reminded me of that song. I can vouch for musical distractions as I am KOPS for 8 years now.
By Nancy Carol Robertson March 16, 2021
I enjoy your blogs and I read them out loud to our group during the meetings. Some of our group are older and “technology impaired” so they can’t read them on their own.
I love music, but as one of six children, my parents could not afford music lessons or instruments. Didn’t keep me from listening and dreaming that someday I would be able to play.
Thank you for your insights and inspirations
By Nancy Gurtner March 16, 2021
You touch so many with your blogs. I look forward to each one and gain something from each one. I too will be sitting down at my piano that I haven’t touched in years and just letting the joy of music fill me – it has a lot fewer calories than what often fills me! Thank you for the prompt.
By Janet Long March 15, 2021
Thanks for this great memory. I have taken piano lessons and enjoyed it. I wish I had never stopped. I love music and its good to hear others that liked music also.
By Gina March 15, 2021
Thanks Barb. What an awesome memory. We had a player piano my parents purchased when I was a kid. I wasn’t able to have piano lessons, but learned to play the violin and cello when in school. Knowing how to read notes I was able to play piano limited. It was indeed an awesome time in my life too. Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed your blog. Brought back numerous memories.
By Julie Feiock March 15, 2021
I generally do not comment on your blogs , but I do enjoy them so much. They are always so heartwarming and uplifting in our journey of life. Thank you,
As I read this one today, I think I will go play a couple songs. Our autistic son who passed away last August 6th from liver cancer loved music. He would lead me to the organ to play some songs. I have not played since he has earned his wings. So maybe it is time.
By Barb Maas March 15, 2021
Thank you for a lovely reminder ro connect with myself again. Never learned music theory as I wanted BUT am getting out my Blue Lion baritone mountain dulcimer & restringing it today! Unlike you, I only play using tab but it’s my path & it’s soothing to feel and hear the gentle deep sounds. I want to hear my ‘world’ of Leonard Cohen’s music again. Thanks for the nudge ….as always, you are on target. 🙂
By Virginia Coles March 15, 2021
Love it. Aways enjoy your blog!
By Heather McLean March 15, 2021
Loved this Barb.
* keep moving to your own beat *
That is what life is all about. And if you think of weight loss….it works the same way. Therefore we each have to find our own beat ( what way of eating works best for me! )
Even though I do not always comment, Barb, I love reading your Blogs.
Keep ‘Em Coming
By Ruth Miller March 15, 2021
Barb, I doubt that “fledgling” would describe you. This reminds me of a TOPS T shirt I have that says “Make your own kind of music.” It seems to give me permission to play my kind of music “by ear.”
My keyboard will be surprised when I sit down and play my heart out.
Thank You! Thank You!