Today is Wednesday, when I have my weekly piano lesson with J. But for personal reasons, I’m not going this afternoon. Instead of spending time at her piano, I’m sitting in front of mine.
I started taking lessons in 2003, one year before I started blogging. The lessons were a completely new experience born of curiosity about the piano that came with our new house and the idea that one’s brain is better for taking on different challenges over the years. The blogging was a way of retaining the writing skills I’d acquired and relied on from a young age.
They are both solitary activities, as are many of my other interests: reading, craft projects, gardening, puttering. Of all these, piano is the most challenging partly because I never took lessons as a child and partly because aging issues – such as stiffness and memory blips – are working against any natural talent.
It’s taken years to learn what some of J’s younger students seem to master quickly. In fact, most of her current students were probably not born when I had that first lesson. Since then I’ve wandered my way through a variety of adult-oriented lesson books, used my scale book until it’s falling apart, and acquired quite a collection of all kinds of music.
Sometimes I consider quitting and just noodling at the piano on my own. But I know my practice would dwindle and my hard-won knowledge would rust. So I pay for a block of weekly lessons that’s long enough to make the mood pass.
Because, in the end, it’s been worth it.