Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Restoring ... Piano


Some of what I practiced today: from
Bach's Three-Part Invention in G minor

I played piano—no, I practiced piano—today at lunch.

I think my blood pressure must have gone down a few numbers.

I didn’t want to go back to work. I like work--particularly lately, as I’ve taken on some new responsibilities for support season. But I didn’t want to go back. I wanted to stay in the little chapel at the Baptist church and practice those twelve or so measures of Bach. I could have stayed there for hours.

Piano has been a part of my life, on and off, since 1974. I opted not to major in music in college, but only because I loved English just a little bit more than I loved piano. I minored in music, though, and took private piano lessons throughout those four years.

After college, I found piano teachers, mostly graduate music students at LSU. I loved to play, but, more importantly, I loved to practice and learn. And I always felt more comfortable doing so under the guidance of a more learned pianist.

I stopped taking lessons in my late twenties. I hadn’t stuck with a single piano teacher for more than a few months (mainly due to scheduling and my lack of money). I still played, though, all the time (I had an acoustic and a digital in my apartment). But I thought my days of formal study were over.

Then I got married and moved to North Carolina in fall of 2003. In late December of that year, just a few days before Christmas, I met with my new piano teacher for the first time. I told Deborah that I wanted to seriously study piano, the way I had in college. I wanted her to push me, and I was willing to put whatever time and effort I needed into piano.

And she did, and I was. For five good years, I worked hard and reached a level of skill I'd only dreamed of before. I documented a lot of that experience on my old blog before creating a whole new blog, just to write about piano.

But then ... I stopped. All of it. There were several reasons--some deep, some not. Maybe I'll write about them here later. What's important, for now, is that I'm playing again.

I have several things going for me regarding the piano. For one thing, God’s given me some degree of talent. For another, I love the piano. Love it. And I love to practice. Yes, I actually enjoy doing scales and arpeggios, and drilling the same two or three measures for fifteen, twenty, thirty, forty minutes. Sitting down to play a piece? Yeah, that’s nice, too. Particularly if it's Bach.

Still, I’m more into the journey than the destination when it comes to piano. And I started back on the journey this week. After a couple of years of not practicing as much as before hardly touching the piano at all, I’ve begun practicing during my lunch hour again. It’s only three days a week, but that’s three more days—and almost three more hours—than I’ve been getting. And I’m thankful for that.

For now, I’m working on “restoring” one piece I learned several years ago, and I’m working on a new piece, a very easy one, mainly so I won’t get discouraged. My fingers feel like they need a good dose of WD-40. Discouragement is a real possibility. I don’t want to go there.

I’ll be posting on my piano progress once a week or so. I’m a little nervous about telling you that, dear readers, because I’ve “come back” to piano several times in the last couple of years, only to have it not last. But I have a good feeling about this time.

And yes, coming back to piano is part of the whole “restore” thing. (But you probably knew that, didn’t you, dear readers—at least those of you who know me well!)

4 comments:

  1. I'm excited for you! I was a music minor in university too. I however dropped out of university after second year ( I don't believe I mentioned that before. It's a long story). You may fell now like you need a good dose of WD40, but soon your fingers will remember well and they be flying across the keys :o).

    Enjoy, my friend!

    Blessings!
    Deborah

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  2. I'm so excited for you! Musical talent is such a blessing (one of which I have NONE of)!! Enjoy!!

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  3. I'm glad you're getting back into your music. I took piano for 8 years off-and-on, and ended up quiting because A)I was too busy with school, and B)I had no talent. But, man, I really admire people who have musical talent. Please keep us posted on your progress!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier today, too.

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  4. Oh, I just LOVE this and it's so encouraging. I rarely sit to play these days unless it's to sit and sing, but I do miss Chopin and Sibelius and Debussy. :) I'm SO glad that you're playing and *practicing*. I'm so inspired!!!!!

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