So in all my sorting out of stuff, my gaze traveled to my little stacks of sheet music – my fave pieces resting on the piano, and a whole stack of pages and books collecting dust nearby on a shelf. And I realized it had indeed been a long, long time since I had indulged myself by sitting down to play. In fact, over the years, I have only played occasionally for my own satisfaction. When I have, it has been alone, and sublime. Like my stitching, however, music has seemed a guilty pleasure.
As you can imagine, this does not make for “staying in practice.” Nevertheless, I sat myself down yesterday at the piano and played. The cat dashed wildly through the room when my fingers began to explore the keys – startled by this new and large sound in what had formerly been a familiar, predictable space. I was startled myself.
So I wandered from Pachelbel to Debussy to Rachmaninoff, and, oddly enough, finished off with a whimsical trilling of “My Favorite Things.” Yes, my renditions didn’t exactly flow. I’m sure my timing was way off and my interpretation sorely lacking. Part way in to the Rachmaninoff I was astonished that I had ever mastered the piece at all, stumbling inelegantly to a halt.
And then here was this stack of music which included Cat Stevens, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Carole King, Simon & Garfunkel, American Pie. This stuff definitely shows the love, and it makes me happy just to see it, whether I remember how to play it or not.
It makes me kind of sad that I am severely out of practice, yet it doesn’t inspire me to start doing my scales and arpeggios. Perhaps that is just one of those things that I can acknowledge I have let go of, whether by accident or design, and won’t get back. Sure, I can still play the basic stuff and the usual Christmas carols, but I’m not cracking my knuckles to do Clair de Lune.
At the same time, I have had a thought in the back of my mind to revisit guitar. I never really gave it a good go. I still have the classic old guitar that Santa placed under the tree when I was like 12. I learned the basic chords, and a couple of songs, and that’s as far as it ever went. But, what the hey, why not now? I could sing along to my own guitar playing. I could even go places with it, like the beach or a park.
For all that I have resisted it, it is my belief that music is just plain good for the soul. I think part of the thing is that it brings us into the moment, and we are just there with it. If you’re playing or singing, there’s not much else you can be thinking about after all. That’s why, I guess, memories of certain moments in our lives are evoked by certain songs. Because we were really in that moment and it was time-stamped by whatever song was wafting through the air at the time.
So we’ll see. In the meantime, Love the One You’re With?