Why NOT play the piano, right!? We are all lovers of music!

Updated: Mar 3

Occasionally, someone will hear about me learning to play the piano as a new adult student and ask me what possessed me to start learning the piano at “my age”. (That’s my favorite part!) There are so many reasons I decided to learn the piano. And as much as I employ the ongoing practice every single time I’m frustrated of showing off for anyone in earshot by pulling out all the cuss words I can remember, dust them off and start using them again as if I was an unsupervised thirteen-year-old, I have come to find that I certainly enjoy a good ole challenge. Just moseying along at a regular mental pace in my life does not seem to be entertaining for me and in a way leaves part of me ‘stagnant’ and stale and I end up bored. To solve this dilemma, I find things like learning to play the piano, coincidentally, clearly a mental challenge for me, and attempt to fill that need. Well, when COVID shut us down, and I found myself grumbling along, with everyone else who was seemingly house bound, I wholeheartedly welcomed the idea of learning something new. Why not spend my extra time improving myself? Right!?

At this time, I was in a position where I had a piano in the house, and some time, albeit lots of extra time in the house, thank you COVID. One of my daughters is an elementary school teacher and her school district had moved some of the school classes to an online platform with the new COVID situation, and it occurred to me that there might be something out there for someone like me to learn online also! I then found an opportunity to take a group adult class online with CONNECTION EXPERIMENT. This group was on the cutting edge and had already set up online adult group music and piano classes exactly for brave and courageous folks like myself who enjoy music and were looking for something new to learn. What luck! So honestly, without dwelling too much on my ‘why’ my brain did a little summersault and I thought more in the direction of ‘why not’?!!! Why NOT learn the piano? Yes, it will probably require a lot of my time, and I have a feeling it’s going to be kind of hard, but clearly others can learn this skill, WHY NOT ME? Who is stopping me? No one!

Sometimes, when I think of all the things I accomplish in life, it reminds me that a couple of things do have to sort of line up for me to ACT on all my great ideas (wink!). I need both the inclination AND the opportunity to hit me at the same time! LOL. This is essentially where I found myself during COVID, with both the inclination AND the opportunity aligning at the same time! It was a regular old fashioned Christmas miracle! I have always admired those who are able to play the piano with skill and seeming ease, all instruments for that matter, because I know that an immense amount of time and energy are invested in making this beautiful music just ‘happen’ for me to enjoy, as the music fan. I love to listen to most music! This has remained true for me for my entire life. It occurred to me, maybe I can also PLAY some music myself! Scary, I know, but here I am. A fairly brand-new student of the piano. And let me tell you that I am in great company with other adult students of the piano, thank you to these online courses. I’m having a blast, meeting new people, who I’ve come to admire and I hope you’ll join me!

What else? Well, I have found that when I challenge my brain to do things that I didn’t do ‘before’ I feel like I am keeping my brain young. Or maybe just younger than if I did not challenge myself at all. I’m here to tell you that my musical brain was somewhat lazy overall because all I’d been doing up until very recently was enjoying others’ musical talents by listening to their amazing music. I bet you have read articles like I have, about the very “fun fact” that as we age, our brains start to decline and lose brain function, start to atrophy, blah, blah, blah…. If we want to slow down this very scary process, we need to continue to challenge our brains to learn new things. I didn’t want to be included as a specific case study in any future articles on brain deterioration. There I was sitting there, just aging away, every single day, with lots of parts of my brain not being used at all. So, for me I have decided to keep trying to learn new things, until I die. A-hem, so here we are at the piano, and the lessons.

As I set out on this learning the piano endeavor, I quickly learned a new fresh lesson about humility. This entire process was going to be much harder than I thought it was going to be. Remember, not that too very long ago at the top of this post, how I was totally boasting about loving a good ole challenge? Yes, that was me and you are right. I must remind myself of this too, regularly! I love a good ole challenge!! I suppose the challenge may even be the process of the challenge, each part of the process playing an integral part in attaining the feeling of satisfaction of a job well done! Now, I don’t want to try to talk YOU OUT of trying (and most importantly continue to keep trying) to learn piano yourself, because overall, I feel like it’s been a very, very good and positive experience for me, and I have a feeling it will be equally as edifying and over all a positive experience for you as well!

I’m reminded of the pleasant sense of satisfaction of a job well done that I’ve felt over accomplishments in my past. Maybe you’ve had that satisfied feeling too, after say, saving a few bucks on a dresser by getting that one at IKEA for half the cost, and only having to merely assemble it yourself. Have you been there too? You remember how it goes. After successfully opening the box and managing to get all of the contents out, finally, without breaking anything that looked too important, only to then sit there with the 27-page, easy step by step instruction book and half a zillion tiny never-before-seen pieces and of course, you should have known, merely an Allen wrench as a tool! Not to be intimidated, you take a deep breath. You’ve made a commitment. You can do this! You go ahead and turn on some quiet, and mostly calming background music, because you too, I can tell, are a music lover and you could seriously use some calming right about now. For heavens’ sake there’s no WAY you’re returning this dresser at this point, it was too heavy to get up the stairs to begin with and let’s be honest, there is NO WAY you are getting all of this crap back in the box! You’ve made it this far, haven’t you? You’re a capable adult! SO, with unwavering resolve, you open the instructions, wait…., you get up and go get your reading glasses, and then you re-open the instructions and you start to read.

You open all the little baggies up, lay all of the new little pieces out in an organized and separated fashion, on a towel, so you can see them individually, and you start the long, and grueling process of assembling that bad boy! Sure, you need a snack, maybe a nap, and quite possibly a drink before this assembling is over, but when it is over, and oh glorious day, it IS OVER and you are sitting back admiring this dresser that you, yourself put together, THAT is the genuine feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment over a job well done! AND that, my friends, is what learning the piano has done for me, over and over again. I listen to the lessons. I re-listen to the lessons. I sit down to practice, I struggle, I try, and re-try, I struggle a bit more, but when things finally click and I ‘get it’ and understand something, no matter how small, or better yet, am able to string a few of the notes together and hear part of the ‘music’ that now actually sounds a little bit like music, THAT is a wonderful feeling!

I am so proud of me! I can’t wait to tell my friends about what I’ve been up to! I’ve worked so very hard and brought some music of my own into my home, and if you remember, I love music! Some of my friends will sometimes ask if they can listen to me play once in a while, and I think, well, anything’s possible. It could happen! Maybe if they are at MY house, I’ll sit down and entertain them with my new piano skills. I mean honestly, aren’t we all lovers of music?


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