Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Omg, What Have I Just Agreed To?



I'm not sure how many of you know this, but I took lessons and played classical piano all through grade school and high school.  My piano teacher lived down the street from us for several of those years, and our families were close.  I still remember my mother getting a call one night to go and watch her daughter while she went to the hospital to give birth to her son.  Oh, I can't believe how much time has passed!  Her children are grown, with families of their own now. 

Like any other little kid, I hated to practice.  I practiced for a scant 1/2 hour a day, watching the clock like a hawk, wishing for the music to come to me through osmosis as my fingers touched the black and white keys, turned the heavily marked-up pages of pieces I had yet to master.  The older I got, the greater my appreciation grew, but with that, the more my confidence was shaken.  As a teenager, afraid to share my feelings, afraid to embrace the things that were beautiful to me, I held myself at a distance from the skills I had aquired.  I was pretty good, actually, but in retrospect years later, I could see that I had held myself back critically. 

Doing recitals and concerts were a source of mind-numbing terror, insurmountable anxiety that lasted from the moment the date was announced until the moment I could remove myself from the stage amid what I took to be polite applause derived from a pitiable performance.  And even after that, I was certain all eyes were on me, feeling sorry for the wretch that had subjected herself to such ridicule.  Silly, I know, but that's how teenage minds work.  Remember?

At my high school graduation, my parents presented me with the gift of a new piano.  A beautiful, blonde-wood Samick that I could carry with me into my future life, to continue my practice, to fine-tune the art.  But college came along, and the piano stayed back at home until many, many years later when I moved to an apartment that could accomodate it.  Actually, it wasn't until after Samantha was born.  And now, 26 years after my last lesson, after high school graduation, I have barely touched it. 

26 years.

The point of this post?

Last week, my former piano teacher, my only piano teacher, contacted me on Facebook and asked if I, along with another high school friend/2-piano partner, would want to participate in a reunion concert of her former students, in Philadelphia in May.

And, without hesitation, I said yes.

And, although I have barely touched a piano in so long, my fingers and joints completely stiff (although I'm thankful for the fact that I type on a computer all day - it's gotta count for something!), my ability to read music questionable, I oddly, surprisingly, feel no fear.

I am calm.  And while I would have prefered this concert to be in August, or even December instead of May, the adult that I have become is up for the challenge. 

My mornings after taking Samantha to school are now to be spent practicing in a quiet house.  My computer time to be limited to short evening and weekend bursts.  My blogging, well, who knows what will happen, but I hope to be able to continue it in the same manner as always. 

I'm not sure what I have just agreed to, but I'm excited at the prospect, excited to see what the adult me can do with what the child/teenage me could only begin to touch on.  My skill is certainly not there, but my ability to feel the music and to learn the notes with the detail the composer created within them, rather than the haphazard way I forced my way through all those years ago, wanting to do it my way, has certainly grown.

Wish me luck...

14 comments:

Cate said...

that is awesome! Are you thinking of having Samantha learn? Or do other music stuff? We almost got a free piano last year, and I was so excited, but it fell through. I keep thinking about it. Abby loves the one at my in-laws' house.

Becca said...

We are doing some stuff with Samantha (well, my mother is when she comes over!). We have put little stickers on the keys with the letters of the notes, and she has a book with songs that have the letters written out on each note so she can just follow it. She's starting to get it, and just the other day played one of the songs on her own like that. Baby steps...

The Sumulong 3 said...

I'm so glad to hear you're picking up the piano again because this gives me the courage and inspiration to pick up my clarinet that has sat in its case since I graduated from high school 17 years ago. I had high hopes to continue playing in college, since after all I was in all state band, 1st chair in my high school for 2 years and spent 3 years as section leader in marching, pep, and symphonic bands. But college has a way of sending us on different paths and my time was limited enough that I couldn't find the extra time to play. I can't wait to hear about your concert. Best of luck!

Lisa said...

that is awesome! I never learned to read music or play an instrument. It might be one of my biggest regrets. Best of Luck!

Rochelle said...

Awesome!

Chromosomally Enhanced said...

Sounds fun! And so nerve wracking! But you will do great....I am getting Max into piano lessons any tips on what you liked/learned most from you piano teacher? I am not sure what I am looking for! Smiles

Deanna said...

I have a masters degree in classical music performance and yet I haven't touched any instruments since Carter was born. Not exactly 26 years, but I can understand your fear in being ready in time! Best of luck to you. I know you can do it. (Also, when I saw the piece selection at the top of the page, I thought you were going to say that you signed Samantha up for Suzuki violin lessons) (-:

Becca said...

Hahaha, Deanna! I have a thing for Bach, just did a quick Google search for an image. :-) But Samantha will get there...LOL

goldenleaves said...

Good luck!!! I think it's great that you are doing it- not many opportunities come along in our lifetime that allow us to be both spontaneous and plan for the future. You will play beautifully!

teal915 said...

That's great. I wish I could play an instrument.

Deborah said...

Good luck! That sounds so fun.

lovemy3 said...

So exciting! My oldest just started guitar lessons. Poor thing, his parents do not have a musical bone in their bodies :-) Can't wait to hear all about it in May!

Lisa Morguess said...

That is so cool, Rebecca! Very cool. And exciting!

wendy said...

Congratulations! I also started playing again although I didn't start until I was an adult, I played flute all through school so could read music already..still wish I had took lessons when I was younger..Love your idea of putting letter stickers on the keys, will try that with Claire.