This post isn’t about monkeys.
It’s about music.
When I was about 8 years old, I wanted to learn to play the piano. So, my mom tried to teach me.
I got nowhere in my attempts. I learned enough (in 5 years) that I could read middle C on the little liney thingy. And D and E. And I knew where middle C, D and E were on the piano.
But there’s not really very much you can do with that information.
When I was in college, I took piano lessons for a semester. I also took guitar lessons. And voice lessons.
I got nowhere in those endeavors either.
Well, that’s not entirely true. My voice rebelled against the forces at war with my desire to be musically adept and, much to my astonishment, I excelled vocally. Once I quit voice lessons (in other words, once I quit trying to learn to read music), I started to get somewhere.
I’m definitely not the best singer out there. But at least I can carry a tune in a bucket and for the unfortunate, unmusical souls such as myself, sometimes, that is all one can hope for.
When I moved to South Dakota, I made a second attempt at learning to play the guitar, and didn’t get anywhere with that endeavor either.
Guys, I’m seriously musically challenged. I’m not making this up.
I saw the following picture on Facebook the other day:
When I was a little kid, the progression of my “chances of success” in music went from about 40% to 30% to 20% to 10% to 0%.
When I got to college, my chance of success went from 40% to 50% to 60% to 70% while I was in the process of selecting classes for the following semester.
But when that next semester started, within a week, I was back to 30% and then it was 10%.
And then I gave up.
After making several attempts at learning instruments, I’ve come to the conclusion that my problem has more to do with the fact that my eyes and brain refuse to let me learn than anything else. Between several different eye issues that I have, my vision is distorted to the point that it is impossible for me to read notes. When I look at the liney thingy, I see a bunch of lines and spaces, but I find it impossible to differentiate which line or space a note is on. I find myself asking “Is that the 3rd or the 5th space?” All…. the…. time….
I had someone offer to teach me piano chords after I graduated from college. She told me that she wouldn’t put any liney thingys in front of me, because it is quite clear that my brain and eyes aren’t going to let me learn that way. Unfortunately, I was never able to find a time that worked for both of us.
Two nights ago, I stumbled upon a tutorial video on youtube that explained how to play a song on the piano. I’m sure everyone has seen one (or a million) of these, but I’m kind of behind the times, and I didn’t even know people put stuff like that on youtube.
I watched this video and my chance of success skyrocketed. It went from 30% to 80% in a matter of seconds. All you have to do is know which keys make a chord. (And practice, of course.)
Sometimes, I have spontaneous moments of epiphany. I’m sort of like Elle Woods on Legally Blonde. I wake up one morning and say, “I think I’ll…. go…. to…. law school… today.” Except that my aspirations are much more, I don’t know…. doable? Things you can do on the side? Things like playing piano and learning to draw.
Now that I’ve thoroughly bored you with my musical failures, I’m going to get to the point of this post.
I just happened to be in a larger town the other day, and I thought as long as I was there, I’d see if I could get a keyboard of some kind so I can at least make an attempt at this musical thing that just won’t stop pestering me. So, I called my brother, who knows everything there is to know about instruments and sound and…. stuff, and ask him where to go.
He said, “I’ll find one for you.” And I said, “No! I need it TODAY. Like RIGHT NOW. Or…. Yesterday would be even better!”
He said, “Fine. Go to Guitar Center. Don’t buy anything until you’ve played it.”
When I got to Guitar Center, I was instantly in awe. (And intimidated.)
The walls, the floors, the ceilings everything – they ooze MUSIC.
MUSIC in big, bold letters.
I looked around for like 5 seconds and then I said to my friend, “Let’s get out of here!” and I swooped up her kid and ran for the door.
Some guy saw me running with this big bundle in my arms and he tried to stop me at the door and ended up saying to my back, “Did you pay for that?”
I just kept running and gestured toward my friend and hollered, “She did.”
I figure giving birth could be considered “paying” for it.
Ok, ok, ok. So I’m exaggerating a little bit. (I love hyperbole!) We stuck around long enough to let the munchkin try out the drums. And we didn’t run. Nor did I holler. But the rest of the story is completely true.
After we all got strapped in the car, I turned to my friend and said, “THAT was intimidating….”
She said, “How is that intimidating? You spent how many years singing in front of people?”
I said, “Just because I can carry a tune in a bucket doesn’t mean I have a clue what’s going on.” Basically, I know just enough about music and sound to make it dangerous to talk to a sales man. While I know what stuff is and what it’s for, I have no idea what would be considered “good” stuff and what would be considered a “good” deal.
I called my brother and said, “Can you PLEASE find me a keyboard? Please?”
I’m…. still…. waiting…. Very, very anxiously.
Once in a while, I have a dream in which I am a very accomplished pianist. I think this is why I can’t get the music monkey off my back. It’s something I HAVE to do. I have a song (or 7) on the inside that must come out. It is going to happen, one of these days.