When I was five years old, a piano arrived at my house. My mom decided I was going to play it. Within a short time, I started taking lessons from Mrs. Pierson. I guess I made my mom happy, because I liked playing and eventually, got pretty good at it. Of course like most kids (and many adults), what I didn’t like–was practicing. But I stuck with it and continued with Mrs. Pierson for more than 10 years.
I’m amazed how the decision to buy a piano so many years ago would make such an impact on my life. I was often asked to play for my class and was even asked to play for my eighth grade graduation. Looking back, these opportunities gave me moments in the spotlight and helped my self esteem. When I was in high school, being able to read music helped me in singing in the chorus. I never had a solo-type voice, but was good enough to make a select chorus. When I was in college, I sang at a coffee house with my friends and even learned to play the guitar. Music became a good social entry for me.
When I first got married, it became difficult to find a place to put my piano and after having kids, couldn’t find time to practice when they weren’t sleeping. Eventually, I gave the piano away and that chapter of my life was closed.
Well, maybe not. I never really lost the dream of owning a piano again. Some 25 years later I got my chance. I received a lump sum bonus and decided to buy myself a baby grand piano. I was so unsure that I would ever play again, that I bought a disklaver which is a modern day player piano. I was certainly humbled as I quickly realized I had to start right from the beginning. I went to the music store and got myself one of those Thompson Piano Books that start you from square one.
After several weeks, I was able to progress and was able to get myself to a pretty good level. But I wanted more. I wanted to be able to play the same piece I played at my eight grade graduation. If I was going to do that, I had to get a piano teacher and make a commitment. The first time I played for my new teacher, she saw potential. Eventually, I was able to play that piece and many more.
I’ll never forget the look on my daughter’s faces (now in their late 20’s) when I played for them for the first time. Although they knew I had played–they were shocked to hear their “old mom” could make some really good music. It was a good day for sure! I soon joined my church’s choir and I was again surrounding myself with music.
Since then, other than playing for friends and family, I hadn’t done much with the piano. Sure, there were times when I had thought perhaps if all else failed, I could play the piano at Nordstrom’s. Who knows, maybe I will someday! But then in September, I played the piano for a memorial service for my good friends, Adele and Jack, who were killed in a car accident. I figured if I could get through the emotion of that terrible time and get through my piece, I could get through anything!
So, now I’m signed up to play again at our church’s Healing Service and look forward to other piano gigs at church. I’ve just joined the choir here at my NC church–again, music surrounds me.
While I sometimes catch myself wondering how proficient I could have been if I had continued playing all my life, I am pleased I have renewed this passion again. So often we put away our talents and gifts on a shelf focusing on more practical skills. Maybe like me, you are able to light the spark again and bring some pure joy back to your life. Perhaps it’s art or writing poems. It’s not too late–reignite that spark again!