In April of 1973, I took my first piano lesson at the tender age of 4 1/2. In the fall of 1980, I was asked to accompany one of the songs for my school choir. I was in 7th grade. I only remember one time that I wanted to quit. I was five and trying to play both hands at the same time. I was sure I would NEVER get it. But I did and I’m SO very grateful I didn’t quit! It’s been a lifelong love affair with that instrument. Playing was a way to express or work through the entire range of human emotion.
At present, I get paid to play for the Senior High choirs (all four) as well as being the paid rehearsal pianist/pit pianist for the musical at the local community college. I love playing and the people I get to work with so getting a paycheck feels like something “extra”.
I made an offhand remark to my hubby a few days ago that I have always wanted to learn how to play the guitar. I played the flute from fifth grade through my senior year in high school and I still get it out every so often. I even spent a few years in elementary school learning the basics of the violin but I couldn’t play one now if my life depended on it! But I’d always wanted to try my hand at the guitar.
My husband hates to wrap gifts and he’s terrible at keeping secrets. So when he bought my Christmas gift today, he was giving it to me just minutes later. When he brought it into my office, I was stunned. More stunned than I remember being in a very, very long time. He’d bought me a guitar. It came with picks, extra strings, a digital tuner, an instructional DVD and even a case. He even bought a stand for the instrument.
I own a guitar. It’s mine.
So far, I’ve learned how to tune it and can play a total of two chords. My fingers hurt a little so I’m looking forward to the day when they get a little bit calloused.
I’m excited. I’m suddenly remembering that little 4 1/2 year old and her excitement when she sat down for her first lesson. I can’t wait to perfect what little I’ve already learned and then add to that by learning more. Some people may think it’s nuts to start learning an instrument at 49. It’s okay. They are allowed to have their opinion.
Me? There’s been a goofy grin on my face off an on all night; it usually happens when I look up from working on grading finals and see the guitar sitting there. And there were even a few tears shed once I’d strummed her a few times. I LOVE playing the piano. And I loved the years I spent playing the flute. And singing? Do it so much that sometimes I don’t even realize it! But when I picked up that guitar for the first time? I started falling in love all over again.
There is something about the ability to make music that, to me, is powerful. Visceral even. It’s like I am the truest version of me that I can possibly be when I am rehearsing or performing – alone or with others, it doesn’t matter. And I’m fairly certain that this new adventure will provide yet another outlet.
So here’s to the lifelong pursuit of learning, growing, and building new skills.