Can You Teach An Old Dog Old Tricks?

Can You Teach An Old Dog Old Tricks?

| December 19, 2019

Reteaching myself to play the piano after 32 years

   When I was considerably younger, my parents made me take piano lessons.  I had mixed emotions about it at the time, but endured 8 years of lessons before entering college. 

Initially, I had planned to go to college and major in music -- piano.  Somehow, that all changed and I ended up majoring in English with a minor in Studio Art.  That is a blog for another time.  Today we are focusing on the piano. 

After 32 years of not regularly playing the piano, we finally moved my old piano from my parent's home to ours.                                                                 Now the fun -- as it is currently remains a "work in progress." 

I can tell you that after being a decent pianist (once upon a time) it is a bit frustrating that my fingers have forgotten their places on the keyboard.  Plus the complex pieces that once were able to be played with ease, have been placed away until I master the beginner level of some of the favored pieces. 

I refuse to play using just the right hand (which seems to have a somewhat better memory of the keys); playing with both hands will guarantee to frustrate the listener, as the beats are off and hesitant at best--I'm just at the level of determining the keys are correct in the moment and will be for the next beat!

My go to music right now is beginner level- with no flats and no sharps.  However, I have branched out to including either B flat and/or E flat or F sharp and/or C sharp.  When I'm feeling daring, I will attempt sheet music that has two flats or two sharps, but trust me when I tell you -- it is not pretty! If the sheet music looks easy - that's where I go!

One of my all time favorites to play - Fur Elise - and right now Schroeder puts me to shame -- is improving! Thankful my fingers are regaining their memory of placement on the keys!

As a challenge, I was given a Cokesbury Hymnal-- which you may know -- is not a beginner level of sheet music, for those of you who do not read music.  Since the Christmas holiday is upon us, I have been trying to work on playing carols to put on a performance for my family.  Just today, I opted to give "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" a go.  It was painfully slow and hesitant at best for the first try.  Yes, I did find several keys that were not the correct key. 

I have decided to stick with "Greensleeves" -- it sounds like a popular carol, and I can play through it without too much hesitation.  Another words, you can hear the actual tune and it sounds relatively close to what it is supposed to sound like. 

I am certain if I practiced playing at the piano for an hour or so daily, I will regain more memory and return to a semblance of the pianist I once was. 

Now to answer the age-old question: 

Can you teach an old dog old tricks? 

Yes you can - with due diligence - success is within reach!