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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Piano Love


Playing the piano brings me pleasure, but it hasn't always been that way. My earliest memories aren’t happy ones. It wasn’t the fact that I didn’t want to learn piano, I did. It wasn’t even the practicing. It was a very strict piano teacher. While playing scales she expected her students to keep their fingers in a curled position, letting one finger drop at a time to play the note. When I forgot and let my fingers relax, she would slap the top of my hand. For someone who was a rule follower that was traumatic, plus my hand hurt a lot. Thankfully we moved and this lady wasn’t my piano teacher for very long. It has been about fifty-five years since I took lessons from her, but I still remember her name and still get a bad feeling when I pass the street she lived on. In case you’re wondering, I never told my mom about the hand slapping. I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t following the rules! My next teacher was totally different. No more finger curling! No more slapping! And so began the years of piano lessons and practice.

Playing the piano is healing to me, both spiritually and emotionally. When I’m angry I can bang it out, when I’m sad I can quietly play or when I’m happy I can make it rock. At the beginning of 2016 I began a piano project. I was singing in church one Sunday and realized that I didn't really read the words of the hymns. I didn't think about them. I just sang them. I decided that beginning on the first of January I would read the words out loud and play two hymns each day. It has become a daily time of worship for me and an amazing journey.

I will forever be grateful that my mom wanted me learn to play the piano. I’m even grateful that she insisted I practice. I fell in love with piano music. It brings me joy. It brings me peace.

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I have two good friends, Lee and Sarah, who once a month post a favorite photo from the previous month and tell the story behind it. Sarah is now hosting a link up for others to share their stories. If you're interested here's the criteria as explained by Sarah.

All you have to do is post a favorite photo from the previous month along with a short story about it on your blog and then add your blog to the link up once it goes live. The story can be anything you want it to be: why the photo touched your heart, the process you took to take it, a funny story, a fiction story, etc. Please visit the other link up participants and spread some love.

Even if you're not interested in posting a Scene & Story, you might want to drop by Sarah's blog and read the stories that are linked there. I know for a fact that Sarah and Lee are very good writers and photographers.

20 comments:

  1. I loved hearing the story behind your piano playing. What a mean teacher! My mom made me take organ lessons. I had no desire to play the organ, but my teacher was very kind. The curled fingers reminds me of the way I am suppose to practice cutting with a good sharp knife.

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  2. When I read your story, I was so relieved to hear that this mean teacher did not deter you from what has become a lifelong passion. Like you, I was a sensitive little girl, always wanting to follow the rules and be a good student. I doubt I would have told my mother either not wanting to admit that I had failed. So many times I quit, and now I am sorry that I let others influence me in this way. No more! I love that you discovered this daily practice and that it has become your worship and your solace. I feel this way about my daily picture-taking.

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  3. How marvelous that music brings such a gift to you! Thank goodness for music teachers who teach the skills while making it enjoyable. I enjoyed your story.

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  4. I had a piano teacher who didn't want your wrists to drop below the keyboard and she would walk your wrist from the underside if they dropped! Needless to say, I quit piano and sometimes regret that i did.

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  5. So glad you stuck with it and enjoy playing. I love the idea of your piano project which I know you look forward to every day. I took piano lessons but just didn't feel as though I could compete with my older sister who was headed toward a concert pianist career. To this day, I am sorry because I would enjoy very much playing now.....

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  6. What a perfect image for your story. It sounds like you made the piano yours - so much so that it became a spiritual practice. That's fantastic!

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  7. Hmmmm....I've often wondered what it would be like to own a piano and play again. I played for 11 years - lots of intense fighting with my mom over the practicing...but I could imagine it being very theraputic. Perhaps, now that I have an actual house of my own, I'll keep my eyes out for a small upright....

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  8. It's wonderful that you find joy in playing the piano - and I love the heart shaped bits of music in your photo. It's a good thing you got a new teacher and your love for the piano was able to grow!

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  9. I love your practice of reading and playing 2 hymns each day. There are so many treasures in hymnbooks! Hope you have a wonderful new year.

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  10. I love your particular story about the importance of being able to play the piano, Cathy, and all the pleasure it gives you. Such a lovely photograph too.

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  11. Isn't it interesting how the memory retains somethings ? I had a teacher that used to throw the blackboard rubber at us it were weren't paying attention ! How I wish I learnt to play, but I suppose it's not too late !

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  12. Very sweet story, and I adore the heart chain!

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  13. Cathy, so many parts of your story resonate with me. I was the same type of child, and in addition, I was always afraid of what would happen if my parents knew I'd done something "wrong." I'm so glad you didn't have that teacher for long, and that you did learn to play. I always wished I could play the piano, but never had the opportunity. I do love to sing, though, and learned to think of my voice as my "instrument." I haven't gone to church in a long time, and what I miss the most is the singing. Thank you so much for sharing your lovely Scene & Story!

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  14. What a beautiful way to praise God!

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  15. I'm glad to hear you stayed with your piano lessons and practicing, Cathy. I took lessons, but so dreaded the recitals that I convinced my mom to let me stop after about five years. I can still see her saying now "You'll regret this some day, Carol!" And, I do--I was pretty good, but the fear of performing in front of an audience was (and is to this day) something that held (and holds) me back... Music is such a wonderful release!

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  16. My own childhood included piano lessons, too. My mother learned from her talented grandmother, and my older sisters took lessons, so it was expected that I would also learn. I could read music; we were all singers. But somehow the piano and I never took to one another. I picked up the guitar in my teens, and still play. But I wish to this day that I could play piano. I'm glad you stuck with it; music is like a friend that is always with you.

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  17. Love your image and the story.....the rites of passage when we are young huh? I never took piano lessons but wanted to so very badly. I am so happy to hear that your piano playing is so therapeutic and that it is a way of spending time in prayer with your hymns.

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  19. your image is really creative!! i have many stories like yours, sad, hurtful stories that i always kept to myself. i am surprised your experience with this teacher did not turn you away from the piano/music!!

    i always tell stories on my blog, but i never share just one picture!!

    i am happy to see you today!!

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  20. I love the shoot and the hearts. Sarah's blog sounds interesting.

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Thanks so much for stopping by!!