Why is it that during our free time we often neglect doing the activities that we enjoy the most?
I loved the piano enough to major in it. My associate's degree is in Music Liberal Arts. I had to practice 1-2 hours a day, 6 days a week or I couldn't get an A in piano lessons. I memorized music for recitals. One of the music professors had a comic strip on his office door that made me laugh. It asked, "If practice makes perfect and nobody's perfect, doesn't that mean nobody practices?" My mom likes to tell people that when I was young she never once had to remind me to practice the piano. It's true. She didn't have to make me do it because it came naturally to me and it was fun -- even the "work" of practicing a new piece slowly. I grew up with my great-grandfather's heavy, imperfect, 1910 upright piano. We never had anyone tune it, but it sounded pretty wonderful to me. It is still at my mom's house.
Soon after we moved into this place in '06 we bought a 76-key digital piano (the standard size is 88 keys) . It can do some cool things that a regular piano can't, and with the headphones I can play it any time, day or night. Recently I have tried to be better at doing the things that are the most important to me and not wasting time on unimportant things. I'm happy that I have been practicing the piano more often. It's nice to get through a whole piece at least twice. (I have to make sure my daughter is entertained or can't hear me playing, or she'll come over and want me to stop so she can play.) The one I have been working on is George Gershwin's piano prelude #1. I have a little book of his three preludes for piano, and the first is the one I know best. If you haven't heard these, you should. They're on iTunes or you could probably check them out from a library. The first and third are really fun to listen to because they are "allegro ben ritmato e deciso." My tempo is not fast enough yet, though.
A lot of popular (best-selling) music isn't great, and a lot of great music isn't popular. I think everyone who is not familiar with classical or jazz music should explore and listen to some of it, because I think they'll find something that they do like. There are tons of composers and styles. But I digress. I think it's cool to realize that George Gershwin's preludes were written in 1927, when my grandma was a kid. As I've brought piano practice back into my life I feel literally like part of myself has returned and I am more complete. I remembered how special it was to play a couple of songs, including one I composed, at my own wedding reception. I am grateful for this talent and that I can put my heart into improving it.