My shoulders are tight, my back is tight, something feels wrong.  I am frustrated.  What is it?  Is there stiffness in my body while I’m playing?  Maybe it’s the new piano.  Old and with broken keys but new to me.  The keyboard sits very tall and instead of a proper bench I sit on a lovely, yet not so comfortable stool that feels precariously high.  I will talk to Mario about it tomorrow during my lesson.  Right now all I feel is tight and frustrated.
         Today, there is an undercurrent of nerves, an anxiousness...a perception I should be somewhere other than I am, farther along perhaps.  The subtle thought, or maybe fear that I’ll never get there.  I’ll never be able to play like that, like him, like her.  And there it is, my old friend Impatience.  Familiar and wearing me like a favorite old sweater, rearing it’s ugly, manipulative head again.
         Why would I think I’ll never get there?  That makes no sense, if I keep going of course I’ll get there, I’ll get somewhere anyways.  Alas, I know why I think that, it’s a commonplace of the mind...the trick is will I believe that thought?  Today looks to be an uphill battle but tomorrow is my lesson and I want to have a full page of the new song done, Clementi’s Sonatina in G Major.
     “Some days it will just be like this,” I think.  So, I decide to just keep practicing.  
     It’s now the end of the night, and though not totally free of frustration, I’m slightly happy to report that some breakthroughs were made.  When I started the day I felt I couldn’t get a phrase to remain in my head, but by bedtime I had almost the first section solid, only a few bars to get tomorrow.  I didn’t give up.  I didn’t avoid practicing.  I tried my best.  A simple concept indeed!

         As I’ve been writing this I’ve been listening to Lang Lang perform Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 Opus 18 I, II.  The album was a gift from Evan Frankfort, a dear friend who helped set me solidly on the path of believing in myself as an artist, and produced my album All These Things.  When he heard of my blog, he graciously sent the album right over, for inspiration I’m sure.  Thanks Evs!

         Of course, in keeping with the theme of the day, my first thoughts when hearing it were something like, “Oh my God, I’ll never be able to play that!  Who do I think I am?  It’s way too late in life to try and learn.  I’ll never be able to play with that intensity.  How does he do that?  I wish I hadn’t quit.  What if I hadn’t quit?  I should just quit now.  No, I won’t quit but certainly should set my sights lower."

         The Concerto No. 2 plays on repeat as I write to you of today’s struggles.  It won’t always be about struggles but I firmly believe in the power of sharing the bad with the good and the healing that can come when we know we’re not alone in the ache of it all.  As this journaling comes to a close I feel my heart soften and my shoulders loosen from the vice grip they’ve been under all day.

          I start the song over.  I close my eyes.  Such beautiful whilst ominous opening chords.  I love the sound of gentle strength, foreboding but drawing me in.  Stronger, stronger, stronger...and then the strings join in, oh my!  I take a deep breath and sink into the music.  I am lost in it.  It takes me places far away.  As the music washes over me so too does hope, and my dreams are rekindled.  As is the desire to play...anything at all.  Suddenly, impatience has given way to the excitement of not knowing where this journey of mine will take me and that makes me feel truly alive.  
         Because when I’m not trying to get anywhere I get everywhere.

Songs While Writing: (click on song to link)
Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor Opus 18
Clementi: Sonatina in G Major (and all 6 Sonatinas)


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