Saturday, May 09, 2009

New Skills Abound

Life has gotten pretty busy lately. Adding in a 90 minute daily stint on the organ (with a 15 minute drive there and back again) has definitely put a dent in my daily available time. It's fun to be practicing with a purpose again, though.

I find the timing interesting, though. My keyboard skills had largely stagnated for about five years. I would sit down and play now and again. Once or twice I tried to work up my skills, but the effort always floundered within a few weeks. Then, a little before Christmas, Rob found an on-line music shop with sheet music for some of my favorite pieces, and got me two books of New Age piano music as one of my presents. When I pulled out Christofori's Dream, I was startled to find that it was actually a fairly simple piece - one I would have not bothered with under other circumstances, because I always felt I was required in some way to push my skill level. But it was a present, and it was (and is) perhaps my favorite piece of piano music of all time. So I gave myself permission to put in the time to practice it.

And then I realized what I had been doing. Every time I would try to "work up my skills" I would ignore the music I actually loved in favor of doing the music I "ought" to do. No wonder I was getting bored and wandering off within a few weeks! So I started playing what I wanted to, and I started playing every day. And my skills started improving again, despite my not working on 'challenging' pieces. And a few months later, I was offered the chance to become the reserve organist at my church with free organ lessons thrown in the bargain.

Ironically, this means I'm back to doing a lot of obligation music, but when it's to a specific purpose (if you're playing for an Episcopal mass, you had better know "Let Us Break Bread Together), it's a bit different than playing stuff simply because I "ought" to.

It'll be a few weeks at the very least before I'm up for playing a full service, even with plenty of lead time, but it's good to be back and playing again.

Also on the music front, Robbie's guitar lessons continue to go well. He sometimes needs reminding to practice, but I've never had to twist his arm. A reminder is sufficient. We're considering starting Aaron on keyboard this summer while his OT is off on maternity leave. I'm not certain he's ready yet, but a three month trial should be sufficient to find out, and it will give him something to do that's also good for his finger strength and coordination. And if he is ready, then it's worth a little scrimping to keep him going when his OT gets back (we'll pay for the initial set of lessons with the money that would have gone to the OT co-pay).

M has been back to class at the dojo about 4-5 times so far. It's a little strange, because he doesn't really join in much. If we ask, he'll teach - usually something from jujitsu, rather than Isshinryu, but if we don't ask, then he usually goes off to the side and does his own practice rather than joining in the class activity, whatever it happens to be. I'd still like it if he became a regular, but I'm wondering if he really has any intention of really joining in, or if he's just out to use the space. He does teach readily if asked, though, and he chock-full of interesting, useful stuff to learn, so I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt unless he starts becoming detrimental to the class at large.

Only a little over a month to go to the World Tournament now. Apparently the state of the economy is really hurting attendance, which is a shame, but I'm still really looking forward to it. Now if I can only achieve my standing ambition of not finishing dead last in kata. I have a video of myself performing Sunsu, which is my intended kata for the tournament. If I can figure out how to put it up, I will.

1 comment:

Becky said...

I'm glad to hear you are getting back into your music! I've been itching to get back into my drawing, too. If only I could put the knitting obsession aside long enough, I'd actually sketch something.

Glad Robbie is doing well, too. I seldom--make that never--have to remind Cody to practice. In fact, I often have to tell him to give it a rest. And at that point, he simply turns off his amplifier, closes his door, and keeps playing. That's a compromise I can live with.

As for Karate, between the economy, Cody's busy schedule, my plantar fasciiatis and now a slipped disc, I don't know when I'll be able to get back into class. I miss going, though and hope I can get back before too long. I'm trying to work out at home, but it's hard.