Thursday, December 16, 2004

A Special Anniversary Today

Today is my one-year anniversary of taking piano lessons from Deborah. When I started taking from her last year, I hadn't played the piano with any degree of seriousness since my junior year of college in 1991. Oh, I'd found a few teachers here and there through my grad school and pre-tech-writing years, but never anyone that I stuck with for any length of time. Life was just too busy, and I never had the time or inclination to practice seriously--particularly since I was supposed to be practicing Mozart sonatas and Moszkowski etudes.

When I moved to Asheville, I had no plans to take piano lessons. I'd pretty much become one of those adults who "used to take piano" but doesn't play anymore. Besides, I was busy enough with hiking, being a newlywed, learning my new tech writing job, etc. But I did miss piano. And, on the rare occasions that I did sit down to play, I would think to myself, "Self, you really should take lessons again. Nurture that smidgeon of talent now, before you end up with carpel tunnel or arthritis."

So one day, on a whim, I made a few phone calls and a few inquiries ... and within a week, I had a piano teacher.

It has felt like a long road to "recovery"--not only have I had to re-learn some things and break some bad habits, but I had to deal with a bunch of negative emotional stuff that tends to come up whenever I let my "artistic" self come out. Also, my poor ego ... I used to play quite well, and it was hard on my ego to be learning things that were at the same level I'd played in high school. But the ego got over it. I love piano too much to let my silly ego get in the way.

And it's been good. I think I'm playing better (technique-wise) than I did in college. I know I'm enjoying piano more than I ever did. I'm not at the level I was in college, but I'm getting there. Here are the pieces, etc., I've learned this year:

Bach, Invention No. 12 in A major

Bach, Invention No. 13 in A minor

Bach, Sinfonia No. 5 in E-flat major

Chopin, Nocturne in B-flat minor, Op. 9, No. 1

Mozart, Fantasie in D minor, K. 397

Suzuki Book 1 (by-ear pieces)

All major and minor scales and arpeggios in four octaves

Contrary motion scales

Inversions in all major and minor keys

La, la, la.

I didn't start the theory/composition lessons until the spring. Between piano and theory, I feel like a regular old music student.

I've definitely improved in a year, though it's felt like a very slow and sometimes painful improvement. I didn't have a piano in the house until this summer; before that, I went back and forth between a few churches and the UNC-A practice rooms whenever I could find the time. Even now, with a full-time job and the rest of the trappings of being a grown-up, I'm lucky if I can practice a whole hour each day.

Deborah said that there are periodic "adult student piano recitals" in this area. Maybe I'll participate in one of those. I haven't played in a piano recital since college. It might be fun.

Then again, it might be a nightmare. We'll see.

I'd still like to do a "Waterfall the Unassuming Cubicle Dweller Wows Audience by Playing Lots of Difficult Classical Music with Astonishing Brilliance and Elan" recital, but there are no plans for that as of yet. We'll see, we'll see, we'll see. It's something to dream about.

1 comment:

oceanskies79 said...

This is indeed an anniversary worth celebrating. There is, for most musicians, a sense of satisfaction and achievement to have improved in one's playing. Cheers.

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