Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I'm a musician. Vocals, instrumentals, jazz, classical, Broadway, standard, songwriting, lyrics, theory, whatever.  I love it. I would say that while I am by no means the best in any given circle at any one aspect of music, I am generally very well-rounded. It works for me. 

There is one gap in my music education, though, and a big one: I don't play the piano. 

Notice, it's not that I "can't" play the piano. I DON'T play the piano. 
I've given various excuses over the years, the primary one being that I can't get my fingers to coordinate that well, and that my brain only processes instrumentation up through the number 5 (allowing for 4 mallets, two-hand drums, valved brass instruments, bugles, bass guitar/rhythm guitar; excusing myself from most reed instruments, various flutes, lead guitar, and two-hand keyboard instruments). 

I was sitting the other day, sorting through my music I've accumulated through the years, and ran across my beginner piano books. You know, the ones I was "forced" to practice with as a child, full of stickers with my  sisters' names and my next to them, and a bunch of red-pencil notes, fingerings, and increasingly frustrated marks from my piano teacher as my sisters moved forward into more advanced books and I stayed behind. 

Suddenly, I saw those books in a totally different light. An image of my animated alter-ego popped into my head, calling me out on years of skirting my way around my musician piano-talent-development responsibilities. 

"Um, hey Self--why do you still have those books?? Seriously." 

insert mental blustery insulted sounds, that Animated Alter Ego would even ASK such a question.  Of COURSE I was keeping those books! For memories because my sisters would want them  because---wait, why do I have these, again??

As my mental protestations quieted, I began to listen to AAE: 
            "You don't need these books. You hated them growing up! To you, they became a symbol of competition between what was otherwise a very congenial truce between you and your sisters. You let those stupid little stickers, and the comments of one (actually very nice, close friend) piano teacher convince yourself that YOU CAN'T. You don't even like this style!  You are a totally different kind of musician, and you love it. These books are emotional clutter symbols. As if, if you somehow conquer these books (which, PS, you won't, cuz you hate them) you will undo all the regret of not learning piano younger, and not banding together with your sisters in mutual musical awesomeness. The unfortunate choice of not continuing in a different style, with a different teacher, the way you wanted to, and therefore cementing the idea that YOU CAN'T. Not setting a different example for your brother, who then ALSO thought these stupid books were the only path to piano mastery, and therefore also quit--even though he really did want to play. Just like you.  

               Scrap the books. Toss the emotional clutter. You do what you want!  You want to learn the piano, SO BAD. So do it.  Frankly, Sabs, you are a fabulous musician. Your brain can process all sorts of information very rapidly, regardless of whether the total pieces to track are over the number 5. That's a load of bull. And no more crap about not getting your fingers to coordinate, either, Miss "I-Freaking-Rock-At-Hand-Drums, Master-of-Craft-Crochet, Cooking, Dessert Designer".  Almost EVERYTHING you enjoy as hobbies involve your hands and fingers being trained. They are super smart. They can do it--they are just waiting for you."

If I had a list of "10-second periods of time which majorly impacted my life," this would definitely be on it. 

It was SUCH an awesome feeling to just toss those silly books right in the "go-away" pile. I knew my sister had good memories of the songs in that book, and the respect for those memories was the only thing that kept me from burning the whole stinking stack. I then turned around and messaged my friend the Professional Piano Player and asked to buy a copy of his beginner piano book. 

I'm SO EXCITED to finally learn how to play!!

No comments: