Friday, July 17, 2009

My Own Cautionary Tale

I can't say I wasn't warned.

Every little old lady who ever cornered me after a church musical number had the same cautionary tale...

"Don't you ever stop practicing, or you'll lose that talent of yours."*


Some even upped the ante with their own stories of having played in their youth and letting their instrument slowly gather dust in its case, the strings loosening with the years, the bow brittle for want of rosin.


The other night, I got out my violin to brush up on a piece I'm playing later this week. After playing the song once or twice, I fired up the iPod to play one of my favorite Mendelssohn pieces with the New York Philharmonic (because most mistakes can be glossed over with about 100 pros drowning you out). I was disappointed, bordering devastated, to realize I could no longer keep up with Itzhak.


This song I could have knocked out of the park as a 10th grader was now slipping from my fingers. The fingers that practically used to play this piece on their own, now likely had neighbors conspiring to crack a finger or two (disclaimer: I do not now, nor have I ever actually believed any of our neighbors were members of the mob. Except maybe that lady who coughs a lot.).


I've been thinking about Allison-who-chose-to-study-PR-over-music as of late. Not because I necessarily think it would have been a better option, but maybe because there's a little part of me that would like for it to still be an option. I don't know that I even need or want to be better than where I was, really. Just to be BACK where I was and prove this 24-year iteration of myself can still do something the 15-year old model could.


If nothing else, it was a stark reminder of how things in life don't really stay put. You're progressing or you're digressing. An overwhelming thought, if you allow it to be. And I do - oh, I do.


I'm ready to make a list. I'll probably write it down. I'll probably need to buy some paper to write it down unless I want it on a junk mail envelope. It will be a list of those things I absolutely can't stand to let digress; those things that would be nice to not let digress; those things that probably wouldn't leave me any worse for the wear if they did digress.


But for tonight, we're going to hear those musicians -the ones who clearly listened to little old church ladies - share their beautiful talent. I can't wait.


*Light purple italics are the generally accepted typeface for old lady speak.

7 comments:

Jen said...

You're probably making more money right now than the folks in that orchestra...

Cliff, Kendal and Stone said...

You are seriously a BEAUTIFUL writer, and a great musician, I'm sure. Sally asked about you yesterday, wondered if I kept in touch with you. I told her through the blogosphere, I'm know what's up. She said she misses you!

Robby Spratt said...

Keeping up your musical ability is a noble goal. I greatly admire people who have such talents. Both my brothers play three or four instruments, but somehow that ability skipped me. Perhaps some day...

UreFamily said...

If you are ever in Boston Area again, give us a shout! We live 40 minutes north of it!

Raulz Kidz said...

Oh so true! Just wait till kids come into the picture. I pull out my violin only to be outdone by screaming kids. Then I figure...I can't play it anymore anyways. I would love to hear you play again!!!

lauren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lauren said...

i'm sure you're being hard on yourself, but i totally know what you're talking about. my fingers alas, can no longer play the songs of my youth and teenage years. they are so out of shape, and they no longer can pick the melodies off the keys whilst my brain is on autopilot. you've inspired me to practice the piano... stat