I have never thought of myself as an adequate or even functional piano or keyboard player. Though I took some lessons when I was in middle school, and some in college that were required for any music major, I have remained ever-intimidated by the instrument and its complexity. I feel this way about most instruments (which possibly will be the subject of another post-- specifically the learning process in relationship to the Suzuki Method), but the piano has always been something that frightens me.
Today, though, I had the privilege to play it on one of the floors of the hospital where I work. Because lunch time was very near, I chose to play in the halls of the floor as opposed to having 1:1 sessions with patients who may be preoccupied with eating. I improvised on the keyboard, starting in the key of C. I don't think I give myself enough credit, musically, sometimes. I improvised for a while, and had two people come up to me to express that they liked what I was playing. (I promise I wasn't playing loudly or being intrusive.) This is a new experience for me, given that I actively avoid the instrument, so have little opportunity to receive any feedback from anyone. What was happening with my playing was that I was relaxing into music, as opposed to obsessing about technique or theory. And by doing this, I was sharing more of myself with the people who were listening. From there I moved into playing in different keys and different styles-- all things I can do easily on violin and with my voice, but definitely not things I thought I'd feel comfortable doing on keyboard. (Not that I'm magically functional now.) My surprise was in that I was able to find the music in the doing, the bigger picture, the point of the activity. Typically I see in front of me all the reasons I cannot play or do something, or I think that I shouldn't even attempt to do it unless I am pretty certain I can be great at it. Sounds ludicrous, I know. But I am being honest.
Today I was able to pry open, slightly, a well-shut door, and I did it of my own volition. Maybe, if I practice doing this, I might actually practice playing the instrument so that I don't have to feel terrified of it. We'll see.
Thanks for reading.