Breathing Lessons on the Piano

Musical

I have a new/old piano.

Despite the fact that multiple internet sources essentially tell me that someone my age is wasting their time to do this, I’m taking piano lessons for the first time.

It came about like this.

I’ve always wanted to learn the play the piano. I love music. I have what you might call an eclectic collection of music on my iPhone, ranging from classical to country. I just love good music. But one type of music I love especially is piano solos. I have hundreds of them and I play them a lot.

I wanted to take piano lessons so I could make those beautiful sounds. I wanted to be able to hear that music in the way the person who is playing it hears it.

According to a lot of experts, that ain’t gonna happen. Old bags like me are just past that sort of thing.

All I can say, is that I’m so glad I didn’t read those experts before I started taking lessons. It wouldn’t have stopped me, but the weight of their negativity would have been something I had to throw off, wasting my time and energy. As it was, it never occurred to me that there was any reason I couldn’t do this if I wanted.

Despite the fact that I’d wanted to do this for a very long time, the time was never right. We were far too broke when I was raising kids to waste money on me and my interests. Pretty much everything my husband and I wanted got put on hold so that we could provide opportunities for them.

That was a golden investment that I not only don’t regret, but I am soooo glad we made. I look at the beautiful young men I raised, and all I can tell you is that it was the best thing I ever did.

However, that nagging desire to play the piano was still there. Then, last summer, a small group of people from my parish formed an ad hoc weekly Bible study in which we got together and talked about the readings from Sunday mass. Of course, there was a lot of eating and random chatter going on as well.

One of the women mentioned that she had a friend who was trying to give away a piano. I immediately said, “I’ll take it!”

And the rest has been rock and roll.

All I can say to those internet experts who claim that old fogies like me can’t learn new tricks is pfffffttttt. I am having a wonderful time with this piano. My goal, which is simply to make it make beautiful sounds, is, I am convinced, completely within my reach.

I enjoy this so much, that it surprises me. The hardest part for me has been limiting my fingers to playing the little tunes in the lesson book. I keep hearing other melodies in my head that I want to play. My piano instructor, bless him, told me to go ahead and play those other melodies. It takes a bit of plunking around to find them on the keyboard, but when I do, it is so much fun.

So, I guess I’m playing by ear and learning to play by following notes, as well. I often end up taking the little songs the lessons give me and plunk around, expanding them into longer melodies. That is so much fun.

My only complaint so far is that I wish my piano sounded better. It’s not bad. The piano tuner said it was in great shape; “a new old piano” is how he put it. But I want to hear a rounder tone than it makes. I don’t like the sharpness of its sounds. I want it to come back at me more, to have more fullness.

I’m not really sure what I’m talking about here. All I know is that am probably going to waste some money in a year or so and buy a piano that’s way over my abilities just so I can experience the pleasure of having it make those beautiful sounds when I play it.

Will I ever be a concert pianist?

No and no.

First, no because the experts are probably right that I’ve started too late. Second, no because that is not anything I even slightly want. I understand how much work it takes to make a career of anything. I don’t want that for this.

This is breathing. Only it’s music and not air.

As for those discouraging internet experts, they should know better. There’s an old saying that no one is ever too young to die. That is true. But the flip side of it is also true: No one is ever too old to live.

Musical notes


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