When I was 11, I spent my free time during recess breaks or after lessons playing the slightly beat up piano that some kind soul had donated to our school. The piano was underneath a staircase in the corridor, and it usually wasn’t too busy so I could play without being disturbed. Most kids who used the piano would play The Entertainer, most probably because they had learnt it or were practicing it for their piano exams. I liked playing the simple tune Chopsticks, the one you can play with two fingers, but someone had taught me how to play Let It Be and I was very excited to practice. I would sing along, and so would a few friends who occasionally watched me practice. Eventually we were asked to perform for some school concert – I played and sang Let It Be in front of our entire school on the fancy school hall piano, and my friends sang in unison beside me. Back then, I didn’t even have any piano lessons, or vocal lessons at all. I just loved playing the song.
At some point I got into vocal music and began singing in groups. We were completely unaccompanied by any instrument, and it was an exhilarating cerebral challenge for us all to hold the necessary chords of a song. I also got into bands, as the frontwoman. Somehow I convinced myself that since there were so many great instrumentalists already out there, I just had to focus on improving my singing.
To some extent, that was true, and I have to say I did manage with a lot of hard work to improve my singing. But my music journey has come full circle and brought me now to the point where I need to be able to play an instrument, at the very least so I can perform my own songs.
Now, noodling over my brand new keyboard / digital workstation and trying hard to understand the sense of very simple chord inversions, I feel like my brain could explode. I literally have to take breaks every 5 minutes to cope with how frustrating it is. But when I have calmed down, and go back to try again and find how much easier it gets with practice, slowly I can feel the enjoyment coming. And I remember why I’m doing this in the first place, how it all started: out of love for music.