This morning I had my third piano lesson. (We purchased the piano in 2006, if you want a rough idea how long I've procrastinated.) This is not my first piano teacher; the last one was sometime in the 80's -- a woman in her seventies named Mrs. Diddle. After a 25-year hiatus from either playing or practicing, I was not expecting lessons to be either interesting or exciting, but it turns out they are both.
I decided to take lessons again because I wanted to learn a new way of playing. Even after ten years of lessons with a classical music teacher, I was completely dependent upon using sheet music and didn't know how to spontaneously play anything fun. I hoped lessons would help me become like sexy Margarita taking requests in the piano lounge aboard our luxury cruise ship last fall.
At my first lesson this time we started at the very beginning. Not with sheet music, but just a few flash cards. Could I beat out a simple rhythm with both hands? Yes. Could I remember basic musical notations? For the most part. Could I play all the scales? You've got to be kidding. Yet somehow, much of the information had remained programmed in my fingers.
Scales ... ugh, the boring drill all piano students hate. Yet somehow this time, I'm excited about starting again at the beginning. Perhaps by actually perfecting the basics and not rushing into performing Rachmaninoff passionately (but sloppily),* I might just master enough good technique to make piano playing fun again.
[*Mom's only comment the last time I played for her: "My, that piano sure is loud!"]
This time it will be fun; it already is. First, if I had had any idea how CUTE my teacher would be, I would not have waited four years to follow up on the referral. [Note: Do not tell Husband about Teacher's sexy brown Brazilian eyes or long musician's fingers.]
But beyond these shallow observations, I truly feel that Teacher has something important to teach me: the art of improvisation and just HAVING FUN with music. Basically, the same things I am trying to accomplish in life right now.
Sure, I will need to learn all the chord progressions and rules for each key. But once I do, the possibilities will be endless. Well, maybe not endless -- I don't aspire to become the next Olga Kern (the last pianist Diva I heard actually match the Divaness of Kathleen Battle), but I do aspire to at least learn a few songs that are fun to play around others -- to make my playing a social skill rather than a solitary one.
Unlike my earlier years, there will be no annual recitals or competitions -- and thus no need for anxiety or the guilt of not being good enough. My goal this time is to play purely for the joy of creating music.
And if I have to learn all this from a tall, dark and sexy musician, so be it ...