Remember that time I

A few weeks ago I pulled some music out of the bench, cleared off and lifted the fall board, and sat down at my long-idle piano.

I studied piano for ten years, from second grade until the end of high school. I wasn’t remarkably gifted (I didn’t practice enough for that), but I was pretty good and I enjoyed being proficient. When I started singing in college piano fell off my radar, eclipsed by a way of making music that came more easily and felt more natural.

But I’ve always been hesitant about my voice, even as my confidence in it developed. Now that I’m living with my parents again, I have no qualms about interrupting the peace of the house with the noise of the piano, but a serious mental block about singing with anyone else around. I don’t know why it is that I feel that the piano is acceptable whereas voice is not, but at any rate it’s led me to start playing again.

And I’m amazed by how easily it all comes back. Not the delicate artistry—my skill level hasn’t progressed that far yet—but pieces I played ten years ago are still within my grasp. I look at the music and it all comes back, not flawless but the underlying idea is there. I am continually surprised by what I’ve retained, by what my fingers remember how to do. I’ve lost a lot of the strength that allows for steady arpeggios and clear trills, but I can feel it coming back. And it’s a wonderful feeling.

(This image has nothing to do with this content, except that both playing the piano and our enormous new cat in a tiny box make me very happy.)

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