rcussions on yourself and othersIf you could have any wish, what would it be and what would be the repercussions on yourself and others?
I wanted to write about playing the piano because it has been the most meaningful activity in my life and I wanted my essay to be personal.
There have been countless hours when I sit at my piano with my fingers first poised, then unsure, as they grasp each key in the tiresome effort of learning a new Chopin piece. At those times, all I do is stare despairingly at the long road of practicing which faces me. The slow progression to a finished piece seems interminable and my only wish is that I could just play and play as naturally as I breathe. I wish the piece would just flow from my arms, to my hands, to my fingers, and then to the black and white keys where a hammer strikes each individual string to produce beautiful and melodic sounds. I wish that I did not have to practice, that the notes would just diffuse into my head without me ever having to learn them.
As the days pass, I get frustrated when my brain fails to communicate with my fingers. I curse the tedious excercises of Czerny who attempts to increase my velocity, and the C sharp minor scales that replay in my head while I am sitting in class. Again I make wishes for it to be easy for me. Yet determination; the word that motivates me, makes me take action, excites me when I think of what I can accomplish keeps me from abandoning my goal.
And so months later, when the first time the notes are no longer black marks on paper but a finished and completed piece, I never regret the time that I put into learning it. The satisfaction felt when everything just falls into place is immutable; for at that moment the song not only stems from the repeated technical strokes controlled by my brain, but from my body where it gains life as it is put into sound. The choppy and uneven measures become as smooth as porcelain as I play in the concert hall where my annual recital is held. And the glow in my parents eyes is gratifying.
Then I think back to all the mistakes I made while learning the piece, the accumulated hours of frustration, and the slow progress towards completion. Then I smile. Because I know that had everything come easily, I would not have gained anything. I would not have gained the discipline, the satisfaction, and the confidence that came with the effort. As the singer Tony Bennett once said, “I believe the one rule that is definite and applies to everyone is that you need sweat and pain and a lot of hard work, and then it has to appear effortless.”