Life is like a Piano

Well, its early October 2020. It feels like this year simultaneously hit me with a truck, knocked the wind out of me, and threw a wrench in my sense of time.

But, it also gave me a crash course in what it means to be resilient.

Quarantine forced us to think, didn’t it? Instead of having to remind myself to be β – the world forced me. Had I ever lived through a pandemic before? No. Had I ever witnessed the economy stop? No. The recession of 2008 was not easy, but this hit us all more severely.

All we had, if we were lucky, was our job, our loved ones, our four walls, and Zoom. We didn’t have the luxury to meet our friends because we were bored and we couldn’t run out to buy a new outfit when we were feeling down.

So, what did we have? We had our anger, our frustration, our confusion, our boredom. We had these feelings, and we had to feel them, we had to admit them. If your loved ones and friends were honest types, they probably told you they saw it too.

This to me is one of the most important aspects of β as I define it. It is easy to admit feelings to yourself when you are feeling on top of the world. But, its not as easy to admit them when you are down, out, sick, or tired.

Nonetheless, its crucial. It is the only way to open yourself up to the possibility of improvement, of help, or of just a loving hug! It is a complete abdication of control. BYE BYE reigns!!

I dove head first into relinquishing what I know by by taking up what was coined “the quarantine hobby.” It is no secret that I love music: I started playing the viola when I was in the 7th grade and I have been going to concerts since almost the same age-thanks BSB for being the first 😉 !! So, I decided to deepen my musical studies by taking up the piano.

But, by no means does the phrase, “take up the piano,” really do it justice. The piano is no fickle friend, it is needy and requires attention. It is technically a complex instrument and physically pretty intimidating. For one, the player is reading two staves, one is the treble clef (melody) and the other is the bass clef. And you are playing these clefs with your fingers. Yes, your fingers.

Ah, so that isn’t such news is it!? But let me tell you something, your fingers have minds of their own too. I have gone 34 years without touching a piano, so when I started to lay them down on the ivory keys this year, well, they had a tough time. Just like we all re-learned some things during quarantine, they too had to learn to curl, lengthen, listen, and coordinate with each other. They had to learn dynamics, and rhythm- which also has A LOT to do with the wrist, but still, that motor connection isn’t as fast as you think.

My lovely music teacher Heather also seconded this notion. She says that her adult students tend to get very frustrated because their brains understand what is happening in the music, but their fingers have not quite gotten the memo. Her cute little 5 year olds however? Well, their fingers are less biased 😉

I pushed through many frustrating practice evenings, of course in my quarantine pajamas, wondering why I was bothering! I already have the viola and a wonderful orchestra to go with it! But it turns out my stubbornness sometimes actually serves me! I stuck with it, weeks turned into months, phrases turned into songs, and technicality turned into musicality.

I am nowhere near close to an intermediate playlist BUT it has been an extraordinary gift during these difficult times. It reminds me that we never have it all figured out. If we keep a mindset that is open, β, and pliable, you just might find that you surprise yourself. That uncertainties don’t just mean risk or havoc, that they can also equate to possibilities, and a life that looks all your own.

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