I have been spoiled my entire life with access to music. There were always radios, record players, cassettes, eight-track players, CD’s and now Pods and Pads creating soundtracks to accompany my many moods! Music has always been in my family and I was even given the gift of piano lessons when I was a child: Lessons with a wonderful teacher who loved children and wanted them to be excited about making music. However, in my infinite nine-year-old wisdom, I walked away from that opportunity because I did not want to practice. And like millions before and undoubtedly after me, I regret surrendering that phenomenal opportunity. Consequently, one of my life’s goals is to finally learn to play the piano.
There is something mysterious and indescribably beautiful about the piano. The shape of the instrument’s body, the arranged ivory and black keys, the variation of sound from whispering to a roar, all combine into a complete seduction. Imagine being able to sit in front of that magnificent object and make music. “Make Music” – not “plug in” or “turn on” but make that extraordinary sound that moves, inspires, stirs and romances. Don’t you weep at the movie because of the music? Imagine your daughter floating down the church aisle in a white dress without music! The marching band on the playing field, the song at your first school dance, James Taylor singing “You’ve Got a Friend,” Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow,” or Joan Sutherland rocking the chandeliers at the Sydney Opera House.
That all sounds so romantic doesn’t it? The reality of beginning to play a musical instrument is not very romantic at all. All those inspirational images boil down to getting up very early in the morning and creeping resentfully into a stone cold church and attempting the seemingly impossible: to somehow make my awkward and clumsy fingers do what a piece of sheet music is (rather smugly) telling me to do. “FORTE!’ “PIANISSIMO!” “SCALES!” And now horrifyingly, one hand playing one line of music while the other hand plays another at the same time! Madness! And yet everything, and I do mean everything, of any true value comes with hard work: a happy marriage, an academic degree, fluency with a foreign language and the chocolate soufflé. So let’s keep practicing and together we will find a way to make beautiful music.“If music be the food of love, play on!” Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night