For most of my life I’ve wondered why I love music so much yet never pursued learning an instrument. Several years ago I realized it’s ’cause I’m effing lazy!
Let’s talk about this for a minute. I know I can’t sing. I mean I don’t think I’m tone deaf or anything because I know when I sound terrible, which is often. I can sometimes carry a tune, but I certainly don’t have a “singing voice.” Not much I can do about that. If I had a genie in a bottle, I’d wish to have a beautiful voice (after world peace and healthy kids, of course), but as luck would have it I’ve never met a genie. I’m just happy to be able to sing to my kids without them telling me to stop. Actually, I’ll have you know… the last time Isaiah had a friend sleep over, I sang to them both as we usually do at bedtime. Both of the boys (8 years old, mind you!) commended me on my quiet rendition of “Moon, Moon, Moon.” I’m not gonna lie. For just a minute, I felt a little bit like Adele. But I guarantee if I’d harnessed that confidence and really belted out a ballad, their little ears would have bled.
I also know I’m not a virtuoso, but unlike singing, the only thing stopping me from learning an instrument is my damn self. I took piano lessons for five years (or maybe it was only three; it felt like an eternity!) when I was a kid and I never learned the base clef! I had no dedication. I knew it then. I hated practicing and resented my parents for making me stick it out. I attended my last lesson when I was 13 or 14, but I remember it vividly. I was sitting at the piano. My stick-in-the-mud piano teacher turned to me and said, “Janelle, I think it’s time you really consider whether you want to continue lessons.” Seizing the moment, I quickly closed my book and gathered up my things while reassuring her there was no need to discuss with my parents because I was most certainly DONE. She was still sitting at the piano with a stunned look on her face as I spat out, “Bye! Thanks for everything!”and scurried out the door. I proceeded to run home to tell my mother I’d officially retired from the piano. (Wind rushing past me, smile on my face, light on my feet as the immense weight had been lifted off my shoulders… OK, I’m exaggerating. I don’t remember what happened after I tore off down the block, but I certainly didn’t look back – until a few years later, that is.)
To this day I’ve regretted never picking up the piano again or some other instrument over the years. You know the cliché, “something is missing from my life?” Well, that’s a real thing, folks. I feel like I stubbornly revised a part of my life by pushing back that nagging yearning and refusing to learn the skills necessary to make some form of music. This is regret. So on a bit of an overzealous whim, I tried teaching myself the guitar a few years ago. Ouch! I decided I wasn’t willing to contort my wrist in that fashion and declared the guitar wasn’t for me. Honestly, I’m still not convinced of this, but I obviously don’t want it enough right now.
So (drumroll, please) earlier this week, we bought a fantastic keyboard, primarily because my 8-yr-old who plays the violin really does have a natural ability when it comes to the piano. Anyway, seizing the moment with the same enthusiasm as when I decided to quit the piano as a child, I decided I’m going to study music theory again and relearn the piano. And I’m doing it! And I’m loving it! So much is coming back to me, proving that I really did learn a few things during those torturous years of lessons. Thanks, Mom & Dad!
So my advice to everyone is to take charge and follow your heart. Make things happen. Seize opportunities. Listen to your regrets and do your best to mend them. I can’t re-live the last 25 years, but I can change the next 25.