Thursday, February 23, 2006

Daily Do

My senior year in high school was also my last year of piano study. For my final recital, I chose "Hungarian Rhapsody No 2", Franz Liszt. My instructor was Mrs. Burkette, a very large woman who wore rosewater and ate oranges while I played. She, settled in her chair and seemingly distracted, was capable of pouncing like a cougar on the least of errors. She thrilled at my recital choice, that I'd developed a love for Liszt who, in her mind, was a god whose name she nearly always only whispered. I never, even years later, had the courage to tell her it wasn't my love for Liszt that guided my decision but my love for Bugs Bunny.

It took months to learn the piece--- sixteen sadistic pages --- during which I called Mrs. Burkette's beloved Liszt names that would've melted her metronome. But, learn it I did and well. Still, on recital night even with congratulations and roses, I knew I'd not touched Mr. Bunny's performance. I likely never would. But then, neither would Tom or Jerry.

Last night I sat down at Aubrey's keyboard to pound something out. I quickly realized what eight years without touching a piano could do. I got a lesson in humility and a good reminder that we lose what we don't use. Thwack!!

I make art every day and I'm pretty good at it. I realize it's the same for dancing, doing algebra or crisp conversation. It's the same for writing stories, making love or juggling cats. It's the same for problem solving and typing and saying the alphabet backwards.

As much as it pains me still, I must quote the plaque over Mrs. Burkette's piano, the words that taunted me for so many years:

Practice makes Perfect

I think the coffee is done now. I will get some, and go to the studio and practice, practice, practice....


ravyn said...

Wow! Wait til i tell my dad that! That's a piece he's always wanted me to play. But i didn't have the discipline (and at the time i was taking lessons, i wasn't up to that level).

But..... hmm, i need to get my piano tuned anyways........

Carl V. Anderson said...

Isn't it awesome how Looney Toons, in its own subliminal way, instilled an appreciation of certain classical pieces in several generations of children? On top of the humor, great characterizations, and crisp animation I have always loved that about Bugs and his pals.

Are the gods leaving? My word verification is:


vandaluna said...

Yes Ravyn....::grin::

The childling is playing the packable cannon (okay, that Pachebel's Canon for for all you perfectionists) for her recital in the spring. :-)

carl v.: Looney Toons were awesome. They didn't force things down children's throats and yet we adults remember so much so fondly of which we were so unaware. My favorite is still "Hare Do".

Lisa: I don't think you ever forget anything you've learned. I think, with a little practice, it all comes back. It is in there somewhere.

K said...

Well, I hate to think what my piano-playing sounds like these days, but then it was never up to all that much (I had a fine line in either passing or failing the Associated Board music exams by a single point. I prefer passing.)

I've never tried Pachelbel on the keyboard, but did it many times on the violin in our school orchestra - much easier! I still like it, and am going to walk down the aisle to it in six weeks (augh! we're not organised at all!)

Carl V. Anderson said...

Pachelbel's Canon is my favorite classical piece!

Was Hare Do the one where Bugs did his Barber of Seville routine?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the words of wisdom. They were just the ones I needed to hear.

vandaluna said...

Oh, she has a real pianny now. No more keyboard.

My fav classical piece is Chopin's Raindrops. I am truly amazed by that piece.

Yesssss...Hair Do isss the one with Barber of Seville!

Anonymous said...

Hello, Lisa and friends! I am a long time reader, first time commenter.

I love this. It is so true.

I had a similar epiphany recently. I noticed how lovely my fried eggs were, and I wondered, how am I so skilled at frying eggs? The answer is: because I make them every day. I thought of all the things I'd love to be proficient in, and I realized that if I did something every day, even for a mere five minutes, then I would eventually learn to do it well. The very idea of it shatters my mind.