Making Sweet, Sweet Music

If 2009 shall henceforth be known as the year I fell in love with the back comb…

Photo credit: bbc.co.uk

…2010 will be my year of learning.

You’ve seen the cooking posts. Now, welcome to the next saga: Lola learns piano.

Often when asked, “so, what’s your story?” I sassily retort “well, I was born on a dark and stormy night…” And I thought about this as I drove to my first piano lesson this evening. A flash of lightening illuminated the sky, my windshield wipers clicking like a metronome. I wondered what tonight would hold for me, if I was driving towards a rebirth of sorts.

In an uncharacteristic move, I arrived about 12 minutes early. Leaving the wet, dark night behind me, I walked into the church (I’m taking lessons in the choir room) where a woman was playing a lively tune towards the back of the foyer. My heels weren’t particularly loud on the floor, so I accidentally sneaked up behind her. What was proper protocol? Do I wait until the piece was over? I didn’t want to scare her. So I stopped about six feet away and quietly waited. My teacher (I shall call her Ms. K.) turned around, and it was like we had known each other for ever.

We quickly ran through the basics, determined what I did and did not remember from my lessons as a young sprout (umm, nothing), and then got to the music-makin’. At one point, I yawned because I’m so exhausted, and she said, “oh, you must be tired, and I’m sure you haven’t eaten dinner yet. Don’t worry, we only have 14 minutes left.” How did 46 minutes go by so quickly?! I was so focused and so present throughout the entire lesson. My ADHD was squarely in check. It was amazing. I don’t remember the last time I felt that way. Normally, my brain is full of zooming darts I can barely catch, but while I sat at the piano, it was like I was suspended in space and time, and my thoughts never wandered once.

I was so excited to be playing music, that my lovely teacher’s criticisms were along the lines of advising me not to bounce in my seat and with my hands while playing “Camptown Races,” or to read the music rather than play by ear during “Ode to Joy.” She’s a great teacher. I can tell she spends time with kids and teenagers, though. We had a lot of discussions about whether this or that would “freak [me] out,” which I thought was hilarious and particularly endearing. But I’m not freaked out in any way; I am ready!

My favorite part was “Black Key Improvisation.” Ms. K. played a piece while I sat next to her and made up the harmony using only black keys. I seriously blew my own mind it sounded so good. When she finished, she turned to me and exclaimed “that was so good! You’re so brave! Most adult students won’t experiment that much!” I think this is the feeling of what happens when the song in my heart becomes audible. Interestingly, the tune of the song reminded me a little of the Charlie Brown theme song, and now that’s all I want to learn how to play.

At this point in my life, the things I’m good at are fairly well established, and while I accept and adore compliments of any kind, it’s exceptionally gratifying to be recognized for something in a brand new part of my life, to be told how great my ear is, how fun I am, how quickly I’m learning, and how good I’m going to be at playing the piano. A new part of me has been discovered, a new path is being forged. I am reborn.


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