Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Back to Black and White All Over Again

It's a weird thing, calling yourself a musician.  I don't always like to claim the title since I don't think I quite deserve it.  I don't listen to music often, and I don't always play what some call music.  My grasp of theory is loose at best.  But every time I lay eyes on a piano a tiny part of my soul lifts just a bit higher.

About a year ago, The Man and I purchased a piano.  I had been living in the piano desert for a few years through college and then when I was on my own.  Trips to the college music rooms became less and less frequent as demand for those few pianos rose.  I had access to a piano at my parents' house, but I kept my music at home.  The purchase of a piano, our first real splurge as our paychecks finally allowed some freedom, was monumental to me.

Over the last year, however, I've not played much.  I could chalk it up to being busy with life, with crafting, with wanting to do other things.  The real reason?  It hurt.  Playing the piano actually hurt.  My back wouldn't tolerate that bench and keyboard for more than twenty minutes, maybe thirty if I pushed through the pain.  My hands ached at the thought of playing.  My arms felt heavy and numb.  It was as if my body was in revolt.

I've been a bit more consistent lately trying to make time for music.  I picked up easier songs and forced my hands to relearn phrases.  Though I've always promised myself I'd stop playing when I didn't enjoy it anymore, I did sit through a few sessions frustrated and angry at myself for not being able to play passages of songs that used to be a breeze.  I've noticed my hands are stronger.  I can hammer octaves with a bit of gusto now.  My back and shoulders only tell me to stop after a longer while.  It's just easier to play than it was six or eight months ago.

In a better mood last night and feeling like a challenge, I broke out some music that I haven't looked at in probably five years.  It is hard music.  It makes my fingers twist and tangle.  The song is fast and loud.  I love looking at the sheets of music more black than white wondering how I'll ever get through that page and the next.  The human body isn't supposed to be able to make those noises come from strings buried within the carcass of a piano.  You know what?  I made those noises.  I really did.  I made some other less desirable noises in the process--inevitably--and had a fantastic time doing so.  I sat and played.  I found that musician inside me stir and wake up.  For many minutes far too late in the evening last night I felt completely whole again.

As I'll never play this song for anyone live, here's the song as it is meant to be (YouTube link).

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