It was the mid 70’s and I was about ten years old when I started piano lessons, quitting after no more than three years. I didn’t like the music, I hated to practice, and I wasn’t above some deception when it came to avoiding my weekly lesson. A fictitious “thumb injury” comes to mind.
Nevertheless, over time I continued to purchase sheet music – usually pop songs – and the hits of the day included tunes by Barry Manilow, John Denver, Elton John, and Simon & Garfunkel. “Hello darkness my old friend…” Oh yeah, good stuff. Anyway…
These simple pop renditions provided many hours of enjoyment all through my teens, and I have to confess that I was glad to know my way around a piano. Years later while working in a bookstore I discovered two contemporary pianists, Jim Brickman and Peter Kater, both of whom dazzled me with their snazzy renditions and modern originals, exposing me to a whole new world of pianistic possibilities. I was intrigued, but they sounded so complex.
Then, in 2005, I heard an elegantly simple piano piece on the radio called The Gift by pianist David Nevue, and I was hooked. By now we had entered the Internet age and David had a website where one could listen to music samples, order CD’s and – most importantly by far – purchase and download sheet music for almost all of his compositions. I ordered The Gift and played it at church a few weeks later. I ordered other music as well, and the wonderful truth was that many of David’s arrangements and compositions were not that complicated! Even a piano lesson drop-out like me could learn and memorize them.
Thirty-five years after my last reluctant piano lesson I have developed a whole new repertoire of beautiful, energetic, and uplifting piano music. I’ll just go ahead and say it – it’s pretty darn awesome! Alas, my piano teacher of the 70’s – Lois Dunsmore – departed this life without ever knowing what a wonderful gift she gave me, my bad attitude notwithstanding. But I did contact David Nevue to thank him for re-awakening my desire to play the piano, and for making it so easy for hacks like me to sound so good. Seriously, I love that guy.
So if you once played an instrument but laid it aside, bored with the lessons, or the music, or the practicing, I encourage you to look around and see what today’s musicians are doing with that instrument, how they have changed and innovated, or simplified, or jazzed up the possibilities. You might just find a renewed enthusiasm to give it a go again and, like me, maybe even share your resurrected gift with family, friends, nursing home residents, church congregations, and anyone else who will be blessed by it.
So get going, check it out and make some fresh music!🙂