In third grade, my parents enrolled me in piano lessons.
I hated piano lessons.
Though mostly I think it was my piano teacher I didn’t like. She didn’t like me much either. And in her defense, even at the tender age of 9 (or however old I was at the time), I could still be a sarcastic snot.
I know, you’re shocked too, right?
I don’t remember if I made this up in my head or if this actually happened (I think it did) but I recall being told, quite often, that I’d appreciate it one day. The older I got and the more of a teenager I become, the more I thought that was, like, the stupidest.thing.ever. All while responding in a know it all attitude and wondering why the hell adults thought they were so smart because CLEARLY they were not. DUH.
Sometime after 5th grade I started taking violin lessons. I don’t think I complained about those as much because my teacher was at least cool, and I was in an orchestra with my best friend which made all of that more bearable. However, I didn’t practice much, and by high school I wanted to quit. I feel like my parents wouldn’t let me (because they are, you know, SO unfair) but I may be remembering that incorrectly. There is also a good chance that the Type A personality in me stuck it out so I could get the letter for participating for all four years of high school. (I did quit once I went to college though….because even though I was pretty good, I never practiced so I wasn’t good enough for college level – makes me wonder how I could have done if I had). By the time I hit 11th grade, I was in choir, too. And marching band. And winterguard.
In case you’re wondering what winterguard is, watch the video above. You can see me at 1:18 (top right corner), 1:36 and 2:14, 2:42, 2:58 (doing the splits – so can’t do that anymore). You get the idea. I was 21 in that video. I’m 29 today, and look EXACTLY THE SAME.
Anyway, by college (aside from winterguard) I had pretty much dropped out of the active music scene, though I briefly considered music therapy as a major my freshman year. Even though I had been performing in one way or another forever, it was almost always in a group setting, and I was deathly afraid of playing or singing on my own. It still had a presence in my life, of course. I almost always have music when running and I listened to A LOT of music through all of my insecurities in high school and college. It was, in a way, a type of therapy.
In 2004 I married and moved to Charleston. I took a year off between undergrad and grad school and worked as an office assistant and then a nanny/babysitter. In 2005 I started grad school and graduated in 2007. I worked for a nursing home for a year when my husband and I were moved to Germany (Air Force). I spent 6 weeks there and came back home, and was divorced in 2009. (That’s the exceedingly short and non drama filled version). After returning I decided I wanted to get back into music again, and oddly found myself missing singing the most.
I love to sing.
I try to limit myself to rehearsals and singing along to songs in the car, because quite honestly while I can hold a tune I’ m nowhere near phenomenal and no one needs to hear me belting out Adele
two twenty times in my car on the way home from work. (I sound just like her in my head.) Bryan and I are also known to make up stupid songs about the dogs that are possibly definitely only funny to us. Sometimes I’ll change the lyrics to other songs to make them fit with whatever I’m thinking ( i.e. I am a worrier to the tune of I am a warrior )Oh, and I know and find myself singing along to the lyrics of every.single.”song” on the toys I use for work that then get stuck in my head for hours. (Come fly with me and you will see what goes up in the sky-y *tweet tweet*- A bird!….aaahhh stop the madness).
Through the magic of google I found a local singing group, The Singers of Summerville (I’m in the picture, in front, 3rd in from the left. Also, I look like crap), sucked up my nerves and auditioned in 2010. I’ll never forget that audition, because I hadn’t sung formally or read music in 10 years and offered “I’m a little rusty”. The director, after listening to my horrible attempt at sight reading, agreed “yeah, you are a little rusty”, but so kindly agreed to let me join anyway.
I write about running frequently as a sanity saver, but have never really given music the appreciation it deserves (that and softball – yes, I’m always involved in a million extracurricular activities). This next concert music in particular has struck a chord (HAHA!) with me, possibly because since I’ve lessened the running quite a bit I’ve paid more attention, possibly because I’ve gotten to know everyone better, possibly because I really like the music. A good pianist is fantastic, a good violinist phenomenal (the violin is a difficult instrument), but when a group of voices blend together in just the right way, the effect is indescribable. Only a notch below finishing a marathon. (And without months of physical exercise!) For 2 hours a week I can forget about infertility,money, the fact that my dog pooped on the rug again. (GEEZ!) I can let go of my constant worry, and the fact that Bryan put the silverware away:
To make a short story VERY long…..I probably wouldn’t have this if it weren’t for those piano lessons.
I’m about to do something BIG here.
*ahem*. Mom, dad, and everyone else who told me I’d appreciate it one day.
You were right.