Years of piano study taught me about the world before I was old enough to comprehend its size.
I also wasn’t aware I was learning lessons which would one day be relevant to life, love and the pursuit, but — looking back — they were plentiful and their truths have stood the test of time.
1) Performing is occasionally necessary. It may not be enjoyable, but everyone’s nervous and we’re all in the same boat. Own it.
2) Learn to leave your hand-warmers and gloves at home. They might be beneficial while you’re waiting to play, but you can’t play with them; they come off eventually. Suck it up.
3) Practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect. Sometimes it just makes you better than the next guy, and sometimes that’s all you need. So practice.
4) As was the case with me and music theory, there will always be some things you just don’t “get.” Be patient with yourself. They usually click in time.
5) A beautiful tune may not be apparent in the first few bars, but just you wait — you might be surprised. Give people a chance.
6) You might get to a point and think you’re done, but inevitably the madness repeats. Follow the directions — you’ll reach the end when you’re meant to reach it.
7) When something stumps you, break it down: left hand first, then right — then both. Similarly, a complex situation can also be lovingly dissected and conquered.
8) Find your rhythm, heed it and be OK with it. Some are fast, some more slow. One’s tempo is a thing of beauty. It does not determine your worth.
9) Someone’s style of teaching may not be your cup of tea, and you may not be in the mood for a lesson at all — but you’ll still learn something. Pay attention.
10) Every genre has something to offer, a sound all its own. Discounting those who may be different robs us of experiencing something unique.
Tonight I am thankful for years of piano study which helped me keep the tough times in perspective and appreciate the rewards of persistence. Not every lesson was enjoyable, and each hour of practice wasn’t always appreciated. But if everything was all roses, all the time, where is the learning in that?