So, nearly two years ago already, I decided to use my tax return that year to buy a digital piano. It was kind of an unusual choice – I’d never played any musical instrument in my life and couldn’t read music. But I’d always enjoyed music and been intrigued by learning to play the piano. So, while previously I’d been too self-conscious and intimidated to do so, I dove in.
Over the first year, I took two community college classes – learned to read music and the basics. Early on, all I really wanted to do was play Beethoven (not real Beethoven, but simple arrangements of some famous pieces). They were my favorites and that’s what I wanted to play.
After my classes were over, I’ve begun taking private lessons. At first, I thought I just wanted to work on more repertoire pieces (read: more Beethoven, maybe some Bach, I supposed), but after our first sessions we began working on fingering exercises, working in different keys, and practice pieces from all sorts of genres (traditional, folk, classical, even blues! ). At first, I was like pffft – bring on the Beethoven!, but as we’ve gone on, I’ve appreciated the new techniques and styles. And she’s focused me to be a better sight-reader, rather than a memorizer.
Anyway, I guess my point is that this has been a great experience for me. I look forward to coming home and playing/practicing for a while. It’s a wonderful way to dismiss any other cares of the day for a while and get lost in it. I find it very relaxing (now I find I get a little edgy if I don’t find the time to practice for a couple of days). I’m not sure that I have an artistic side – but I love learning – and the learning more about music itself – notes, chords, rhythms, keys has been a blast.
And I think I’m getting better. I don’t think that I’m ready for any truly complicated pieces by Chopin, Liszt, Molden, or Debussey, but I’m getting there. The one thing I’ve noticed the most is that the “time from beginning to making something sound reasonable” has shrunk, and that makes me happy.
So, if I can convey anything, it’s that if I can do this (learn something with no background experience) than you can too! Don’t be intimidated, just try. Get a book, take a cheap class, do it.
Now if I could only get her to add a little more Beethoven into the mix.