It is a new year and everyone wants new things, starting something you always wanted to, stopping smoking, going on a diet, you know what I say.
One year ago, I told myself I should finally go ahead and achieve a long-forgotten dream of mine: to learn to play the piano.
I started music lessons straight after, after my main office in Valencia sent me to work as an expat in Glasgow. New country, new things I guess. Also, it turns out that Glasgow is surprisingly good when it comes to education and culture in general.
My family used to have an old piano at home when I was young, but they never managed to tune it and could never really afford lessons for me, so when I decided to finally get started myself, well into my thirties, many questions and doubts came to my mind. They all seemed pretty daunting to deal with: what if it is not as I always dreamed of? What if I can´t do it? How will I deal with frustration?
I can tell you now that starting out requires quite a bit of faith. Not in some divine power, but in yourself. That, and trust.
Faith that you can do it, and trust that some stranger will be able to teach you how to do it.
I still remember my first lesson pretty well. I was so excited to meet my teacher that I couldn’t stop thinking what he would look like, if he would like working with me and if I would like working with him. More than anything though, I couldn’t stop worrying that we’d both discover that I was a useless pupil unable to learn the piano.
It turns out that was actually quite alright at it. And that my teacher was pretty funny.
After some lessons, I came to realize that music is all about overcoming yourself constantly. When I started, I never thought I could ever play the music I am currently playing. Yea yea, there might be a 5-year-old somewhere in Asia that can also play them (in front of thousands of people or on live TV…seriously, check Youtube, it’s crazy), but do I really care?
I’m challenging myself like never before, I know myself better and I believe that I can only go further forward! I’m also more entertaining at dinner parties when there’s a keyboard around J
I’ve also come to realize that no one is not good enough. It requires some practice, that’s true, but what doesn’t? No one has ever learnt to ride a bike without actually riding it and falling a few times. But once you can ride it, it’s nice. It is something I can enjoy by myself or with others, something I ‘created’ out of my own hard work and commitment. It’s a nice feeling.
I’m pretty sure I’ll never be a Classical concert pianist but I can well live without that. I will instead just be able to go straight to the piano after a busy day at work or a weekend with my in-laws, and I will play my favorite piece or I will improvise and let my mind take a break from the outside world.
That little bit of faith I had in myself that it wasn’t too late to get going, and the trust I bestowed upon my teacher to actually get me going have indeed made my life happier and fuller than it was before. I do recommend it.