Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you? Hmmm . . .
My oldest son asked me recently about a song I used to play a lot on the piano when he was a child, who knew he was listening? Playing the piano was never easy for me like so many of my friends; who all had the natural talent of being able to sight-read music or play by ear, neither of which I had. Every note I played either on the piano or the clarinet was hard-won through hours of practice. As a young adult, I continued my studies with ‘Prof’, the professor of music at Lincoln University. Since I lived in the area, he was the natural choice for my instructor in piano and organ. Sad to say, I never mastered the organ and can still only play songs that I’ve practiced over and over.
The song that my son asked me about was Debussy’s Arabesque #1. That song spoke to my heart every time I played it, and I practiced it a lot, because there was always someplace that I made a mistake – usually only one or two, but I wanted it to be perfect. Since I was a young adult with children, the only times I had to play were at night (if I beat the mister to the living room where the piano and TV resided). I can still remember the hot, humid summer nights in Maryland, playing this beautiful piece along with other of my favorites (like Moonlight Sonata – I was working on the third movement when I stopped practicing.) The sound of tree frogs and crickets accompanied me. The piece was hard for me because of the triple-lets in one hand against eighth notes in the other.
Another song that touched me was Landslide by Fleetwood Mac because of things happening in my life at the time. If you asked me what the lyrics were, I couldn’t tell you. My daughter used to laugh at me when I’d ask some silly question about what was being sung on the radio – could be any song. I always got the words wrong. It turns out I’ve always had an auditory delay and so had a hard time understanding and remembering song lyrics. It’s also why when jokes were told, people would already be laughing before I figured out what was said. At least I figured out why!
George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue was another favorite piano piece I was learning how to play when life intervened. It is still one of my favorites. Until I wrote this blog, I didn’t realize how much I miss playing the piano. I will have to seriously look for a keyboard to keep with me in my RV since my piano stayed behind.
I’m also late with today’s post because of heat in the valley – it drove me to the cooler mountains. I HAD to hike. I was just a short one – almost three miles – but three beautiful miles in the Eastern Sierras. I met one person leaving the trailhead as I started hiking, then saw no one at all until I met a pharmacist from Colorado who had gone all the way to the lake and was on her way back down. I didn’t start in time to do that, but will certainly accomplish the ten-mile hike just to see the different shades of turquoise water she told me about. We shared notes about the mosquitoes, hot springs, hiking and not being afraid. It was great.