Since music was the first thing I ever got into in life, my first more-specific introductory post will be about how I got into music in the first place.
According to my mom (disclaimer: I remember none of this), when I was around four, I saw someone playing the piano and told my mom “I want to do that!”
So, being the wonderful people that my parents are (and for some reason, actually listening to the frivolous wants of their 4-year old child…I think once upon a time my mom thought I could become a professional musician one day), signed me up for private piano lessons and bought me my first piano. And thus began the long and difficult road, going from playing stuff like this…
To stuff like this…
Fourteen long years–full of piano recitals, concerts, music theory, exams, and every day practice– would pass before I was able to go from the first picture to the second. I’m not gonna lie, there was a lot of resistance (and screaming and crying) along the way. There were many instances where I wanted to give up (and I’m sure my mom felt the same way too). At the time, I had little passion for classical music, and most of the time I didn’t appreciate the stuff I had to learn to play.
So, why the hell did I continue through the years? Why put myself through the grueling practices, endure the frustration, and curse at myself every time my fat fingers didn’t do what I wanted them to?
I don’t think it was out of love for the art, if I’m honest. For a long time, the love meter was probably only marginally above zero (filling the love meter will come in a different post). I think it was more out of fear of regret–I knew if I gave up now, I’d never get better, and I’d probably lose whatever I had learned (if you don’t use it, you lose it, right?) After having come so far, through so many years…well, that just wasn’t an option. I would see it through to the bitter, bitter end.
Except there really isn’t an “end” when it comes to music. It’s not a book you read, or a degree you earn, it’s a lifelong practice. Except, there was a time during my college years where I didn’t do much with music at all. I had a keyboard, but rarely played it except for the occasional odd tune here and there. I’d picked up the violin and played in middle/high school orchestra–and had a great time of it with my friends–but didn’t even bring the violin to campus with me.
I think at this point it was safe to say that I had learned the difference between learning how to play music, and playing music. The former is done with a great deal of trial and error, temper tantrums, sighing, and smashing the keyboard (for which my mom yelled at me for endlessly, but that didn’t stop me from doing it)–while the latter is done with great fervor, enthusiasm and love.
Fortunately for me, there was a transition where I learned how to love playing again (and I think just growing up had a lot to do with it too). More of that in the next post! 🙂