Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Playing with the New

One of my first endeavors as I began the novitiate last week was something completely new: piano.

Yes, I played the viola for about one month in fourth grade and the flute for maybe a week longer in fifth, but playing an instrument is a totally foreign concept to me.

So, after learning all about middle C, I began playing songs such as Two Giraffes, Skipping and Stepping, and Our School Band. The first two songs, and I use the term loosely, came from a book for 5-7 year old beginners, but I am happy to report that I have graduated to the next age bracket! My teacher is a recent college grad who is completing a volunteer program through the Benedictine Women's Service Corps. She is living, praying, and working with us for the next nine months, and she is quite a wonderful musician. After listening to me trudge my way through some basics, she has been treating me to some more advanced pieces. Today I got to hear The Wells Fargo Wagon from The Music Man, which took me right back to fifth grade chorus!

I thought piano would be a good undertaking for me because I knew that if I used my head too much, it wouldn't work. That has already proven true. When I don't sing along, I get lost looking at the notes on the page, and I quickly make mistakes. When I do sing along, my head has somewhere else to go. Today I even decided what might make more sense for a brain that works the way mine does. I mean, shouldn't all the C's either be on lines or in spaces, not both? Then, I decided to figure out where the note "Z" would be on the keys; "Z sharp" was our next finding!

One comment I received when I said I was learning the piano was, "It will be good for you to do something that doesn't come naturally." I think this is true; for a perfectionist, playing it safe is often the best solution, not playing an instrument where letting go and letting the music lead proves better.

So, say some prayers for me (and for my teacher!) as we embrace lots of newness in our lives!

Let us walk in the holy presence.