The first thing I noticed when I sat down at the piano was how all the notes on the music sheets had shrunk in size since the last time I looked. I suppose one could blame that on my eyesight, but that would mean I’m aging or something, heaven forbid.
The second thing I noticed was how doggone many sharps and flats there were in these pieces. And they’re really there for a reason. I tried to ignore them, but somehow the songs just didn’t sound quite right.
And the third thing I noticed was how much I had missed playing. Music has been an integral part of my life from a very young age. My parents pretty much dictated that my siblings and I take piano lessons from the moment we were able to pronounce the word “metronome,” maybe even earlier than that. I didn’t mind so much because, as the youngest child, I wanted to be just like my older brothers and sister. And since they played piano, I wanted to play too. I didn’t realize there was practice involved.
I never got super good at it, but I did get to where I had a certain –albeit it limited – repertoire of songs that I played rather well. Mostly contemporary Christian pieces and Dan Fogelberg tunes. I didn’t exactly conform to the way they were written, though. I apparently felt there weren’t enough notes, so I turned chords into runs, and otherwise mucked up the pieces in a myriad of ways. Whether they sounded better that way or not is highly debatable, but it made the pieces more “mine.” I was able to express something my way.
Self-expression is so important. I commented the other day about writing, but that is only one form of expressing oneself. You can dance or sing or paint or create fly fishing ties or any number of things that let you show who you are, feel who you are, learn who you are. And whether you do so in the darkest corner of your dungeonous basement or perform live at the Met in New York City doesn’t really matter as long as you are doing it for you. (And yes I know, "dungeonous" is not in the dictionary, but hey, I’m expressing myself my way).
Don’t limit yourself by thinking you’re not good enough. If you enjoy it (and it’s safe and it’s legal), I say go for it. You may discover hidden talents or you may discover that you really suck at it. Or you may think you have talent until someone informs you that you suck at it. It’s all good.
I’m off now to practice my latest form of self-expression, photography. I know how to zoom in and zoom out now, and I’ve finally figured out how to turn the camera’s flash off when I want to. Whether I’m producing works of art or just wasting precious pixels, it doesn’t matter. I’m having fun. And that’s part of my new philosophy.
Just a snapshot, you might say.