Friday, December 23, 2011

Year End

For a little while my piano was inundated in Christmas accoutrements as we moved it aside from its corner location in order to erect our Yuletide tree. This year we gave our much-serviced artificial tree, which had stood tall for the past five years, to Goodwill and bought a live tree. Our cats love this, as my Lady cat lays beneath it like a panther and my male cat drinks from the reservoir. I took about a week off from playing and practicing as I concentrated on performing at Holiday parties and taking care of school preparations.

So this week I've played a little bit, and my teacher and I have taken several steps back: I'm concentrating on improving my sight-reading. Last lesson we spent working through several children's songs while I avoided watching my hands. I intend to practice this while I go to school until I gain proficiency. It's a real weakness, I think, that I can play some fairly advanced music but if I forget a part, I can't look at the music and instantly recognize were I am. I can't always rely on my memory. When I'm tired, or playing an unfamiliar piano, my memory sometimes fails me.

But then we have this other somewhat large shadow looming ahead of me: returning to school. I honestly don't know what I'm getting myself into. I may coast right through. Or it may take a while to catch my stride. So what to do about my piano practice? I don't know.

I guess I'll just have to take it a day at a time.

A new year is just ahead, with new challenges and new adventures. I'll turn fifty-two right in the middle of next year. When I was in High School I never thought I'd make it this far. And I'm going to go to college. Wow.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

First Piano Recital Ever

I Just returned from my first piano recital, at a retirement center here in town. I estimate about twenty-five people were in attendance. The weather was a rainy, sulky, slightly cold day. Six of us performed for the residents. Some of the little kids were very good. I went on third, and played The Entertainer and Cristofori's Dream. It was the first time I've ever played for anyone (seriously, the first time) and it felt weird, because I couldn't see the audience like I can when I perform my act. I had that feeling between my shoulder-blades you get when a predator is about to pounce. I tend to be slightly distrustful of people I don't know, and it's worse when I can't see them, but it helped that my teacher and her husband were there and I knew they had my back in the event the residents rose up in force like the villagers in an old Hammer movie to burn me at the stake. Most of the other players there had a fairly elaborate support group in place: parents, family--this was a big thing to them. I showed up alone. Nobody up here really cares enough about what I do to show up at my recitals, or to congratulate me that I was accepted at Indiana University to pursue my Master's Degree--a big step at age Fifty-one--or that I have begun drawing and painting again in pursuit of that goal: a Masters of Fine Arts. Am I feeling sorry for myself? Perhaps a little. It would be nice to have a cheering section at home. But perhaps it's the time of my life to go it alone for the time being.

But the recital was a new experience and I learned from it. Nobody threw anything at me so I guess it was fun, and the old parties didn't hit us with their canes so we survived the experience.