My interest of music began at the age of five years. I used to watch my mother play the piano with ease and joy. One day I climbed up next to her on the piano bench and said, “Teach me, Mommy!” She admitted that she had only taken nine months of piano lessons as a child, and she didn’t feel confident to teach me the rules of piano.
A few months later I was introduced to my first piano teacher, and I began to study basic piano instructions. I still have my first textbook in my possession, and it’s dated “June 22, 1978.” I continued with my weekly lessons for the next ten years, until I decided that enough was enough. I was fifteen years old, and I was stubborn. I was tired of driving to and from the lesson each week; I wanted to pursue something else of interest.
As I look back on the years of those lessons, the dreaded hours of forced practice, and the intimidating competitions and recitals, I have bitter-sweet feelings of those memories. A part of me wishes that I had continued with the study of piano through the college years, and a part of me wishes that I had branched out to other forms of music. I did try to take voice lessons at the community college, but I didn’t have the vibrato to accompany my pitch and range. I tried to step back into the world of piano lessons at a private college, but since I had forgotten so many years of practice I decided to quit before I embarrassed myself out of the major.
Although I believed that my experience in piano was merely a “skill” and not a true talent, I have realized that there is joy to be found in the art of making music. Beautiful music is enjoyed by millions around the world every day. There are countless versions of music within each culture that define the people who connect to that form of beauty.
Music is a trance, a hug, a silence breaker, and a mood-swinger. It drives men to its knees, and causes waves of emotion to build in the soul. Music is a life force, and it creates a bond between two people. It comforts the lonely, accuses the guilty, elates the happy, and completes the spirit.
The essence of music has saved my life. In times of deep despair I have turned to music for comfort, for encouragement, for laughter, for opening up my mouth and expressing my joy. Music has the ability to stir up the body to movement, and brings life into the dull surroundings. I cannot imagine a world without music.
I have to say thank you to the teachers who spent countless hours training my brain and my hands to play those 88 keys. I have to thank my parents for providing the funds and the time they sacrificed for my lessons. I have to thank the men and women who used their knowledge and creativity to write the tunes that would become a beautiful song.
I admire the talents of the people who can create a new song from their mind. I admire the people who have the strength and determination to perform the music for others to enjoy. I wonder if they feel the way I do, where I know that music is embedded into my bones and my soul. I just haven’t figured out how to make the music come out of me the way they have. I admire their desire to share their passion and provide that joy.
Music is a form of beauty that is subjective, objective, passive, aggressive, colorful, and unique to each composer. Music will be passed down through the generations, yet portions of it may die with a change in a culture. Throughout the ages the essence of music remains; it is alive and life-sustaining for those who embrace it.