Today, I am grateful that I was recently able to sit down at a grand piano and play my way through Beethoven’s Sonata Pathétique (all three movements!). Of course, since I hadn’t played for several months, I made some mistakes, but it was still in incredibly therapeutic and rewarding experience.
I truly believe that music is a form of prayer. When I was at the piano, I was lost in my thoughts – if you asked me what was on my mind, I wouldn’t have been able to tell it to you. However, as I was playing, it felt as though my fingers were playing what my mind was feeling.
Anyone who considers himself or herself a musician certainly can relate to this experience. On one level, you are doing what is technically required in order to produce enjoyable music; on the other hand, your mind goes somewhere far away, where you find yourself thinking about your dreams, plans for the future, and disappointments. When you’re in that place, you’re honestly not paying a whole lot of attention the music at all.
And yet, you are undeniably present with your instrument.
The relationship that a musician has with her instrument is a close one; you need to be skilled and know what you’re doing in order to produce the sound that you desire. So, on one hand, you’re very far away in your thoughts; on the other, however, you’re closely attuned to your instrument, making sure that the piece (including tempo and dynamics) sounds the way it should.
Playing an instrument is an undeniably emotional and passionate experience. When I get up from the piano after having played through a piece, I usually feel different – lighter, in some way. Of course, the perfectionist in me wishes I could’ve played everything just right, but I still feel a sense of great accomplishment after having made my way through pages and pages of sheet music.
I am so very grateful for the ability to play the piano. I’m thankful that all those years ago, when I was but a wee girl, my parents made the decision to invest in my musical education. From a young age, playing the piano enhanced my fine motor skills, supplemented my understanding of basic math principles, and bolstered my confidence. In a way, the ability to read and play music is like speaking a foreign language with complete fluency – a real gift, indeed!
So, even though I have posted about the importance of music in the past, I was reminded this week that it’s a blessing to have access to a beautiful instrument like a grand piano. It’s an even greater blessing to be able to sit down at the piano and play it with competence. Most of all, I am delighted to remember that – even though it had been quite some time since I last played the piano – the music was still in me (in my mind and my muscle memory). After all, once the music – the compendium of sharps, flats, quarter notes, and trouble clefs, among others – is etched into your mind and heart, it’s generally there for life.
This is a good thing. In fact, it’s a grand thing (pun intended). 😀
My prayer for today is taken from Psalm 92:
It is good to praise the LORD and make music to Your name, O Most High, proclaiming Your love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night (Psalm 92:1-2, NIV).
It is a grand – and precious – thing, indeed. In Your name I pray, Amen.