Sing, Sing a Song

Today’s Bloganuary prompt:

What is on your music playlist right now?

I don’t really have playlists. I love music. I love playing the piano. I love listening to live bands. I love listening to music on the radio or on Pandora. But I have never taken the time to curate a playlist.

If Mom and I are in the living room, then it’s a Pandora “Classical Music” station. Lots of Pachelbel and Bach and Beethoven. She “journals” – cuts up the daily newspaper and tapes it into a composition notebook. Sometimes right side up, sometimes upside down, sometimes mismatching articles. And coloring around the newspaper clippings with colored Sharpie markers. I’m generally clearing out my email inbox or reading. The classical music is a lovely background for either.

If I’m in the car, it’s usually the Hamilton soundtrack. I know it’s years old, and I still can’t resist singing along, very loudly. It brings back such lovely memories of seeing Hamilton in San Francisco with my theater gals, and with my parents. And memories of a Hamilton-themed Bat Mitzvah, so much dancing and exuberant joy with good friends.

Playing by Ear

Today’s Bloganuary prompt:

What is something you wish you knew how to do?

Play the piano by ear. I see friends sit down at the piano and joyfully tickle the ivories. I love the spontaneity; I love the carefreeness. Just sit down and play.

I took lessons for about 15 years and can read music. And sheet music is my crutch. I get nervous without it, and when someone invites me to play without sheet music I feel a small wave of panic come over me. I can usually remember a few measures of former recital pieces (Für Elise; Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring), and then I fade out.

Playing in the privacy of my home, with my tattered sheet music in front of me, brings me great joy. I love the feeling of my fingers on the keys, and the ease that comes from practicing a piece over and over; the reading becomes easier, more fluid. I love the actual music: the sound of chords, the rhythm of notes (triplets are my favorite).

I’ve considered signing up for lessons again with the sole intention of learning to play without sheet music. Learning the basics of what works together and what doesn’t. Adopting a playful attitude with music, rather than a studious one. Looking forward to sitting down at a piano, even when my sheet music is carefully tucked away at home.