I took piano lessons when I was growing up. Started at age seven. With the moving that’s inherent in being a military family, it was never consistent lessons, but by the time I started up again in college, I’d probably had a good eight to ten years of lessons. I started again in college because it was my choice and I enjoyed it because I could actually recognize the songs I was playing.
I took guitar lessons in college, too. For a semester. I think I can still find the G chord.
I also took drum lessons for about six months in 2003. I had a practice pad and kickpad. Still have them. I also was given an electronic drumset this past summer from someone who had attained a newer one.
Piano, guitar and drums are all here in my apartment. If a random person walked through, he or she would probably think I was musically-gifted.
They’d be sadly mistaken. I can play piano still. If I get into the regular habit of it, I can play something decently well. My drumming is way behind (I can keep a beat, that’s about it) and guitar…my fingers are no longer callused as to handle the guitar strings. Given effort and a lot of practice, I could probably play all three with mediocrity.
I can’t make music. I desperately wish I could. I love music. My iTunes is pretty packed of a veritable spectrum of genres and types of music. Nothing really obscure, but classical to classic rock, some pop, tons of oldies, and even some swing.
At the moment, I’m listening to Die Moldau by Smetana. It’s almost thirteen minutes long. I first heard it when I took the general education Humanities 101 during summer school between my sophomore and junior year in undergrad. We studied movements in symphonies and a variety of other musical terms that I barely remember anymore. But I loved it. Die Moldau is an entire story in song, the journey of the River Moldau through the quiet and the cascades. It’s so easy to see it when you listen.
My favorite thing about music and the listening of it, is that even years after the first time the song or songs made an impact on you, you can be sent back to that time and place. When I listen to Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers, I’m sent back to acting school in 2004 when I had to do an improvisational dance to a song I picked. I remember my friend, Liz, who’d introduced me to RHCP and John Frusciante and how we saw him play live and almost died in reverence at the amazing ability of a gifted guitarist. When I hear On Call by Kings of Leon, I’m back in England, graduate school, writing furiously as I realized that I’d found my niche in life as a writer. I also remember the English boy who lived across the hall from me who made me listen to the song. I remember sitting in his dorm room, crushing madly on him even though I knew it would never happen nor would it have been a good idea. If Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls plays on my computer, I’m seventeen again, pulled into the world of contemporary music (late 90s) and seeing the lyrics written in a note from a boy who had thought I was the one. The memories are pleasant, bittersweet, and mine.
I’m not sure any other form of art can transport a person as easily as music does.
SOTM: Die Moldau by Smetana
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