To-Do Tuesday

So it seems my post on “Ghosting” last “Tautology Tuesday” was something of a hit for a beginning blog, so I do intend on writing up some “tautological” matter – or at least a clarification of the last one! – here: later today, with any luck. At any rate, I have had something of a traumatic morning, being told that my teeth need ALL to be crowned (I still don’t have much of an answer as to why my anterior teeth need to be crowned when they are in fairly good condition) and to the tune of around $40,000 … or I could have them all pulled. The trauma therein is compounded in my head by the “ghosting” mentioned in last week’s tautology post – and we come full circle with that!

In BETTER NEWS, however, my parents helped out with the moving-in of my “new place;” my dad did some “construction-like” work while my mom was with me trying to figure out how this is “keeping my teeth” exactly (especially long-term … I’m not that old, by any means!); when my mom and I got back here, they unloaded some of the “heavy” items I’m not yet allowed to move with my fragile spine – namely books and my keyboard. MY KEYBOARD! If you do not know me personally, I will give you a little bit of my musical background. When I was 3 years old, my parents bought me one of those “toy” pianos (the keys were correct and everything, it was just like a toddler-sized piano); the piano came with a music book with simple songs like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and other songs one would expect to be included in such an item. However, what was unexpected, was that apparently I sat down at said toy piano and sightread through the entire music book. So, at the ripe old age of 3, I started taking music lessons. By the time I was in 3rd grade, I had “outlearned” two piano teachers; I began taking lessons from the top piano teacher in our area (“our” area meaning quite a large area, more or less extending out to NYC at the time) – I went in and played and I was immediately taken in – I know I was the “enemy” of many other pianists in my class and the class above me because not only did this piano teacher have an “audition policy” that was apparently almost impossible to pass, but he had a waiting list as well (one which, just by playing, I suppose I just overrode). To make a very long story short, this teacher was very good …. but we didn’t really “get along.” More often than not I went into my lessons (for which I was granted permission to leave ACTUAL school early – yes, I was very much well on my way to becoming a concert pianist) never having practiced my musical assignments, simply sightreading what I was supposed to practice when I sat down at his piano bench. He was not very happy about this …. and I was not very happy about both the style and level of music I was being “given.” Around the age of 15 or 16 I quit taking lessons and started just playing on my own. During many of those “last years” of formal lessons and thereafter I taught piano lessons to many students as well. *PHEW.* Short synopsis of my PIANO “career” over (there is much more to my “musical” background in general … later, later!). 終わりだ。

One of the main reasons I left formal lessons was an argument over Beethoven. My piano teacher had a fascination with “modern” music – something which sounded just like random banging on the keys to me (to add one final note about my background, I was sort of a really weird kid … until I was in middle school I refused outright to listen to the radio. I heard what my parents listened to, usually the Beatles or Journey, or what my grandfather listened to, usually Roger Miller, but those were usually cassette tapes – I listened, but I listened only to classical music until the age of about 13-14. I had no interest in the newest Mariah Carey album that had just come out (boy, I’m aging myself here haha) – it was primarily Mozart in those days. But time passed, as it does, and even after I started listening to other types of music (I was big into LISTENING to jazz, just because of the area in which I grew up and the people the parents of friends knew, &c.), my love was with classical music. My family went on a cross-country road trip when I was around 14; we stopped at a Barnes and Noble in Tennessee (I believe it was Tennessee or Kentucky) and I bought a book of Beethoven Piano Sonatas: That book changed my life. To this day it has changed my life. When we returned from our month-long summer excursion, I returned to piano lessons, urging my teacher to teach me to play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata Movement 3 (I had taught the First Movement to my own students – and yes, capitalization is absolutely warranted here!) and he simply wouldn’t do it. So I started to teach myself … and it was not much longer after that that I just quit. We were never a good match, despite both having some of the fastest and most agile fingers around. (<-TRUE!)

So, to end this rambly post, I just wanted to say that I NOW HAVE MY KEYBOARD HERE! I have been “granted permission” by the HOA here to play between the hours of 9AM-9PM …. officially the terms say “no musical instruments are allowed.” I laughed when I read that because I don’t think anyone would have a problem listening to me even screw around on the piano. I haven’t actually played on a piano or keyboard in about 4 years … so this is a BIG DEAL. For a VERY long time, the lymphedema GIVEN TO ME (another long story – oh, I have so many!) in my left arm kept me from playing any and all of my instruments – ESPECIALLY the piano and cello (another story there!). However, with years of therapy and years of “healing,” I am determined beyond the level of determination most people CAN know (that’s a CHRONIC ILLNESS thing!) to get back the dexterity and reach in my left hand. I am 100% committed to once again bang out full Beethoven Sonatas, all of Chopin’s Winter Wind and Revolutionary Etudes, and so much more. My heart is so happy and my fingers are literally hot from being unable to tear them from the keys. My keyboard is something of a one-of-a-kind as well (I know that’s impossible, but it’s quite literally a very difficult item to find) – rounded keys, full petals, weighted keys … it is like a REAL piano (hard to find curved keys too these days! I don’t believe they are made that way anymore, if my memory serves?), but it’s a keyboard. And I love it. And now when music flows through my head at night, I can run to the keyboard and write it out again (there was a point in high school during which I could just sit and WRITE MUSIC without the help of an instrument – I am hoping to get back to that point as well!)! So today, my “To-Do Tuesday” is to work on some of my Hanon exercises to increase the agility in those ring fingers and pinkies and to start in on Beethoven’s “Pathetique.” I have already started in on “both” tasks, and I cannot tell you how much fun it is, how fulfilling it is even to hit those runs and turns even at a very slow tempo. I suppose if all else fails, I always have one of my first loves, the piano, to fall back on.

Thank you for taking the time to read this! If you have any comments or would like to discuss anything here or elsewhere, please do not hesitate to contact me! I truly intend on making something out of this blog … and (again, it’s a CHRONIC ILLNESS THING!) my intentions MEAN ABSOLUTE COMMITMENT. So! I hope you are all having a happy and healthy day wherever you are in the world! And I hope you have something GREAT to do on this “To-Do Tuesday” as well! I’d love to hear about it if you’d like to talk about it! My heart is with yinz always, no doubt!

❤ Always, Beth

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