Yesterday I sat down at the piano and I played a few songs. It was the first time I had touched a piano in about a year. Before that, it had probably been about another year.
The sistertraveller and I both took piano lessons when we were younger. We took so many lessons that she got to the point where she could have taken her teaching certificate; I would have had a couple more piano grade levels ahead of me before I could have taken my teaching certificate. But we quit before we got there, because we were both busy with academic and social lives, and we just weren’t interested in taking piano lessons any further.
We kept the piano. The old apartment that the sistertraveller and I shared was enormous (seriously, sometimes we’d be shouting to each other and trying to find one another. Biggest apartment I’ve ever been in. It was awesome), so we could easily fit the piano in there. I took the piano with me when I bought myself the condo. The sistertraveller currently has her own apartment, but it is quite small and there’s no place for the piano. She’s more of a pianist than I am so we’ve agree that the piano is hers; I’m just holding onto it for her until she gets a bigger place (besides, it looks really fantastic in my condo!).
Something about being the youngest child is that when you’re young, you’re constantly frustrated at not being able to do the kinds of things your older sibling can. I started piano lessons two years after the sistertraveller, so I got frustrated very quickly that I couldn’t play the same music that she could. The sistertraveller also has a real ear for music – it’s a major passion of hers and she has the talent of hearing a song once and being able to teach it to herself and play it on the piano or guitar almost immediately.
Music isn’t my thing. I have to practice, practice, practice to really understand and perfect a song. So when I stopped needing to practice piano for my lessons, I simply stopped playing it. And I didn’t really miss it.
Which brings us to yesterday. I’m not sure what made me play the piano. Maybe it’s because a couple of conversations recently have involved piano playing, but something compelled me to wander over to the bench, sit myself down and play a few songs… Lord of the Rings theme music, Phantom of the Opera theme music, and some classical music of Grieg and Rebikov for good measure.
It was something of a relief to find that my fingers weren’t as rusty as I’d feared. When I first sat down, I had this sudden fear that I wouldn’t be able to read the music. That maybe I wouldn’t know where to put my fingers. It turns out that once you have really grasped a language, even if you don’t use it frequently, it’s pretty hard to forget it. Because I was able to play the songs quite smoothly. They certainly weren’t competition-worthy, but they were just fine for playing on my own. And that’s what a hobby should be.
If you haven’t been able to devote much time to your hobbies lately, or if you’ve given up an old hobby, it’s worth revisiting it – even if only briefly. It’ll bring back some good memories. You’ll probably enjoy it and remember why you liked it – and maybe why you gave it up, too.
Whatever you do this week, make time to do something a little different from the norm. Get back in touch with something that you haven’t done in a while. It’s good for the soul.
What were/are some of your hobbies?