Since I finally started teaching piano lessons again this fall, I have been reminiscing about my own history of piano.
Maybe this is in an effort to recall lessons I learned for the sake of keeping ahead of my students.
Or maybe it's just because this grand and glorious instrument has always had a place in my life.
I remember hopping up on the piano bench next to my momma or my grams.
I thought my playing was superb.
They, of course, agreed.
I began taking piano lessons at age 8.
This subject matter did not come easily for me--
most likely because math was (is) not my forte.
Yeah, can you believe it?? Music--the right brained freedom of artful expression is rooted in the left brained specifics of mathematics and logic.
I loved playing the piano.
I just hated practicing.
My mother can attest to this.
However, I always very strongly disliked having anyone play my piano better than me.
Whenever my mom or a friend sat down to play, I was certain they were doing it to shame me.
I realize now that this was likely not the case,
but it did manage to kick my rear into gear a time or two.
Though the ability was not natural, my musical ear was.
I easily felt the right tempo and knew immediately if a wrong note had been played.
This helped, but also frustrated me along the way.
KNOWING I was wrong and not being able to play it better was just plain frustrating.
Just six months after starting piano lessons, I began taking voice lessons from the same teacher.
These came SO MUCH easier.
There was nothing to it, really.
The ease at which I learned to sing was only adding to my snail's pace advancement in piano.
Eventually, I pushed myself to improve and by senior year of high school, I was able to do a bit of accompanying for my school choir.
I auditioned for a piano scholarship at Spring Arbor University (against my will--I knew I wasn't up to snuff).
I received a small scholarship and spent the next four years being challenged way beyond my comfort zone.
My new instructor was loving and gifted, but was always pushing.
For every semester's recital, I had to have my piece memorized.
NOT a skill I had honed previously.
I remember practicing in one of the many non-sound-proofed piano rooms and being ashamed at my playing in comparison with those piano students performing around me.
I hoped no one would know it was me. :)
My sophomore year, I tackled Debussy's Clair de Lune and performed it from memory at the recital.
That was my moment of glory.
I was proud. so proud.
Though my skills in classical music may not have heightened since my last lesson over 2 years ago,
I have been reaping the benefits of those 14 years of piano lessons ever since.
Each Sunday I play piano/keyboard along with the worship team for church.
I have learned to improv from chords.
I have been forced to understand key signatures to a greater degree.
My sight reading abilities have sky rocketed.
I have to be ready and willing to play whatever, whenever.
And I look forward to continuing to teach students who are excited to learn.
Teaching reinforces my knowledge of music to such an extent that I learn it twice as well as I had before.
My students sometimes challenge my understanding and my memory and while it's a bit freaky it's also really great "exercise."
I don't know where I'll be--musically--in 10 or 20 years--but I pray I continue to use my abilities to glorify Jesus Christ.
Because He's the whole point.