Goodness, I'm glad yesterday is over. Today has not been very auspicious itself as I've already slipped and fallen in the kitchen and had to go outside at 05h30 to chase away the neighbour's tom cat that insists on hanging out on my driveway and driving my tom cat crazy. Oh, the screeching and the yowling that ensues...
Still. I'm awake and showered and trying to focus on today and not think about the work schedule from hell.
So, the piano. The piano has arrived. It's the family piano that was trekked all the way across the ocean when they (the family) emigrated to the USA. It was at my parent's house for a long time and then a few years ago my sister had it taken to her house. She wanted the kids to learn musical instruments (she plays the flute) but somehow that plan got derailed.
Now for as long as I can remember, I wanted to play piano. I think any musical instrument would have made me happy but pianos were more frequently seen and anybody can press a key and like the sound it makes. The same cannot be said of a violin.
Somehow that dream was either not verbalised or it was not heard because although my middle sister was given first a recorder and then a flute and sent for music lessons, it wasn't until my youngest sister wanted to take piano lessons that we bought a piano. (And I just remembered that when I was about 7 years old my grandmother did give me a recorder and a book on how to learn to play. I have no idea where that ended up but I am always comforted by just how much she cared.)
As my sister was in junior school, she started piano lessons at school. As I was in my last year of high school, I started private lessons. I remember enjoying them and one of the advantages of being an older student is that you learn some things more quickly but... I was moving into my final exams of high school (think SATS but a lot worse) and then after that into my first year of medical school (think hell), and piano eventually had to come to a halt. Finding time to practise became impossible and I hated the half heartedness of my attempts. And that was it.
I've always loved music. It has been an important part of my life and has comforted me and brought me joy. I have favourites that I go back to time and time again and music for me is door to a better world. Years ago I walked myself through the 'classical music' progression, starting with listening to baroque and moving through all the different musical era's until I hit the 1900's and was less interested.
Last year when I was in New Orleans I bought a number of touristy trinkets, one of which was a ruler that had the majority of the great names of jazz printed on it in order of their birth. Starting with Scott Joplin and ending (I think) with Wynton Marsalis. Most of the musicians I already knew but I had never thought about the progression and development of the music in this way, as a timeline. And so one of my goal's for this year was born. I would start to listen to the development of jazz and work my way through everybody.
(If you're interested I have started with Scott Joplin and W.C Handy.)
I spent a lot of time thinking about how appreciation of anything is enhanced by attempting the same thing yourself. (I learnt that through horse riding.) I reflected on my piano lessons in the past.
And those ideas were buzzing around my head when one day I was sitting in Mass and thinking about how I loved to sing. About how I loved the fact that I could occasionally make something sound pretty. (I am not a good singer. Very average, but occasionally all of us can hit the right note.) It occurred to me that I wanted to try and play piano again.
So I do not go into this blindly. I am the person who did not have time for riding even though I love it and I am the person who did not have time for french lessons because my schedule varies so much, so it is very likely that I may be the person who does not have time for piano. But how will I know, if I don't try?
So I checked with my sister and arranged with a piano mover, and what I now think of as my piano has arrived.
It made me even happier than I had realised it would. I spent an hour or so last night practising fingering and scales and realising that I am no more than a complete beginner. Syncopation? What's that?
It needs repairs. The trip to the USA was brutal and as it is a birdcage piano, finding somebody is a little tricky. (Birdcage pianos are older pianos, typically German or English and repairing them is fiddly work.)
Still, it looks at home and I am happy. I have books on the way to try and start some sort of teaching programme for myself as I'm still a little hesitant to arrange lessons but meanwhile I have several of my original lesson books and I'm happy to flip through them and marvel at how much I used to know, and have forgotten.
And so that is the first goal of 2013. It's a soft goal. (Hence the title) In fact all my goals are soft goals. I am surrounded by deadlines and pseudo-disasters that hover nearby in my work life. I do not intend to create a home life of misery and failure. I choose optimism and improvement and so the first part of that has begun.