Making Music . . . Pursuing a Dream
edited: Wednesday, July 17, 2002
By Fritz Barnes
Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2002
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Reflections of a beginning adult piano stuent.
Several weeks ago, at the age of 41, I became a beginning adult piano student.
I have always enjoyed music, but I have never considered myself a musician. The closest I ever came to that was in elementary and middle school, when I played the cornet. That experience did provide me with knowledge of the basics of reading music, although it was of course limited to the treble cleff, and single notes at a time.
As a freshman in High School, I quit the instrument. My classmates were rapidly surpassing me, largely because I did not, at the time, possess any self-discipline, and I was not practicing at all.
As I eagerly tackle the challenge of learning to play the piano, I cling to the hope that my musical ability is at least adequate, average. I will never be a teacher or a performer. The idea of playing in church interests me, but I realistically expect that even that will remain for those more gifted than I.
I just want to sit at home and make music.
I want to play "Amazing Grace," and "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name." I want to play "God Bless America" and "Happy Birthday." I want to play all of the traditional Christmas carols.
But I also enjoy classics and jazz. I hope that I will find music in those genres that is someday within my reach.
Today, I enjoy playing a convincing (but very simplified) "Ode to Joy," and I am pleased that I have worked out "An Old Fashioned Waltz." I am getting a kick out of torturing my children with "Big Chief Crazy Horse" and "The Clock."
Each week, I attend my lesson and proudly play a few more pieces. Each week, we attempt to move forward to new material, and I sit there amazed at how my fingers resist the new patterns. I stare at the music like a deer caught in headlights.
And each week, I go home and throw all of my spare minutes and late nights at those new pieces of music. I tediously work out the notes and the hand positions, the fingerings and the rhythms, the volume and the tempo.
I worry that my next lesson will come too quickly, yet it never comes quickly enough.
I rightly exult in each little triumph...yet I fully realize that I have barely begun.