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.
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...