It’s been six days since I started teaching myself to play the piano. At first, I was completely flabbergasted by what I was working towards: You mean I have to know what notes all the keys are, which fingers to play them with, read music and keep time, and eventually have both hands doing their own thing at the same time?? Riiiiiight.
Muscle memory is a wonderful thing. Twenty minutes in the morning after breakfast, thirty minutes after dinner, every day, and I’m already doing things that I wouldn’t have believed possible for musically-challenged me. I hunker down, concentrate on a snippet of music, play the same notes over and over again, until my fingers are doing it on their own. Like crocheting, beginning is the hardest part; figuring out the pattern, the several false starts, the forehead-furrowing eyes-narrowing concentration, and then, suddenly my fingers are no longer tangling all over themselves, but sure, confident, strong. It’s like running, or flying. I don’t have to think about it. I just do it.
There’s not much muscle memory involved in writing fiction (unless you count typing or handwriting, which I don’t). It’s much more of a cerebral activity. Yes, there is inspiration, and yes, I have written as if my fingers were on fire, but it’s not quite the same thing. Crocheting, gardening, piano playing–they’re all things I do to rest my mind, to let it coast, in a way that I can’t while writing.
To think that I was concerned that the piano would sit around unused when we got it. The husband, Sir I. and I have been jockeying for piano-playing privileges. The husband flips pages in the piano book until he finds something he’d like to plunk out. Sir I. plays falling snowflakes and thunderstorms in Michigan. Me, I’m the one methodically working my way through the book (page 16. hooray!). Which, I suppose, tells you a lot about the kind of person I am. I’m thinking of splurging on lessons for myself, to undo all the bad habits I’m undoubtedly teaching myself.
Heh. Piano. About the last instrument I would’ve picked for myself. It was always the violin or the flute that I regarded in a romantic rose-colored haze.
Now, do you think the baby will grow up to have perfect pitch? He certainly spends a lot of time under the piano bench while I practise.