Sunday, May 1, 2011

Me Making Music?

My grandfather was a good musician and my dad was a really talented pianist with a lifetime joy in music. I took piano lessons as a kid and I sang in the school choirs. In fact high school choir is where my husband and I met. 

It was no surprise that we sent our kids to music lessons. We embraced the Suzuki style of music lessons where the parents are considered the at home teachers. Parents participate in lessons and learn how to coach their kids in a positive way through their home practice. I had one daughter who adored the violin and singing and she still teaches music to several lucky students.

We found that the music lessons were a real help for one of our children who has serious learning disabilities. It helped with concentration, memorization, and there was such joy in playing the performances and pride in accomplishments.

Well here I am needing to work on my own cognitive skills and I also wanted to get my weak left hand working up to speed again. Music seemed like such an obvious next step in my self imposed therapy program. At the same time, I am being really hypersensitive to sounds so that was going to be an extra challenge for me to get used to the extra noises. Here I am trying to learn guitar and I even joined a community choir.

Last summer my social worker/ therapist asked me to pick a short term goal and I found myself saying that I would find out about guitar lessons. Apparently I did not follow the concept of a short term goal! There is nothing short term about my Guitar challenges.

I went to my first lesson and found that I was really not coping on so many levels.  I had trouble even carrying the guitar into the teachers studio. My left hand was not working well enough to do the guitar exercises properly and my right hand had a sore lump that turned out to need surgery, so I took a medical leave after only one lesson. 

Five months later my right hand was healed. I had great physiotherapy for my sore finger along with the rest of my stiffened right hand and through all this I had remarkable healing of my left affected hand.. I was forced to use my affected hand with my strong one out of commission and the improvement of my hand function was huge.

I resumed guitar lessons in January and have been working pretty hard ever since. My efforts are starting to actually sound a bit like music! It really does force me to think about what I am doing. I need to concentrate really hard. I used to read music easily but I am finding that I need to relearn those skills all over again just like I needed to start over with numeracy. Tracking across the page when reading is really challenging too. My fingers are slow and clumsy but I can see steady improvement and increasing strength. My next big challenge will have to be memorization because I am having trouble remembering even little phrases of the music due to issues with my short term memory.

Years back, playing piano was a huge source of comfort to me and I always managed to relax when I was playing. In the past few weeks I have noticed the occasional glimmer of joy and peace when playing the guitar.  There is hope again.

Images courtesy of


Rebecca Dutton said...

This is amazing news. I come from a family of musicians and know how great it is to express what I am feeling without words.

Grace Carpenter said...

That's great, Linda! And good for you for keeping at it. Most the time I cringe at the sound of my piano playing, but I haven't given up hope.

Suzanne said...

Good for you! Linda, you're positive!!! Music = Life, according to my daughter. So true :)

Barb Polan said...

Wow, Linda! I am so impressed. My daughter is a singer/songwriter and both plays the keyboard and is lead singer in a band, plus sings in an a professional a cappella group during the summer; she is also their music director - she got her bossiness from me, but not her musical ability. My point is that I cannot imagine her coping without being able to make music. Congrats to you that you can work hard and get such rewarding results.

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