Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Play that Funky Music, White Boy

Resolution #5: Learn/Re-learn an instrument
Progress: Decision Stage

Is it only in the social circles I have traveled, where learning an instrument is a required part of the "growing-up" experience? I am more inclined to believe that musical studies are a part of almost all children's lives, whether in the classroom learning the recorder, at home on the piano, or in the garage with the guitar. According to our personalities, we either embrace or resent the discipline that it brings, and some will claim our aptitude is dependent upon the dominant side of our brain. Regardless of what scientists will say on the brain, they have proven that the study of music increases concentration and mental activity, and is overall quite a stimulating endeavor.

When I was young, my instrumental studies came in the "home on the piano" variety. My mother, a talented pianist, made certain to include piano practices right beside the lists of chores, as items that must be accomplished before the day's end. Although I would have preferred to be playing the backyard, playing the piano was not so tedious, for when my studies were through, I could impress guests with simple renditions of "Hallelujah Chorus" and "Stars and Stripes Forever".

My piano abilities were self-taught, under the watchful eye of my mother, to make sure that I was actually learning. There was a short time of 11 months or so, where I studied weekly under a piano teacher outside the home, but her teaching style, and my learning style proved incompatible, and I was quite glad for the excuse to drop the lessons when the following summer schedule began to overflow.

I cannot remember for sure, but I'm guessing that it was around freshman year of high-school when the piano took a back burner, one that wasn't even lit. I stopped practicing, reverting back to the songs I had previously memorized. Throughout the rest of high-school and college, I would occasionally sit and learn a new song, memorize enough to play some rendition, and call it sufficient. I began to experiment with a little bit of guitar during this time as well, learning some basic chords, but never advancing beyond simple riffs and 4-chord progressions. My goal was to have enough skill to approach an instrument, play some basic material, and walk away as if interest was lost, or resort to party tricks, such as playing the piano while sitting underneath of it. To accompany my piano and guitar, I learned some harmonica and ocarina (a small wood flute), for the same purpose.

As the reader already knows from the listed resolution. I would like to finish what I have started. My younger sisters have all passed my skill level with the piano to the point where I can't even see them on the horizon, and my fragile ego can barely absorb such humiliation. However, in order to catch them, I am at a significant disadvantage, lacking a piano or keyboard. I do own two guitars, and could continue my studies in that realm, or I could pursue purchasing a keyboard. The purchase of a full piano will have to wait until I acquire a more permanent residence, although that will hopefully be within the next few months as well. I leave my future in your hands faithful reader, and to your decision. Piano or guitar?

Think I should learn the versatile piano? Prefer to hear me play sweet melodies on the more portable guitar? Wondering when I'm ever going to find an ocarina laying about during a party? Me too.
Comment and vote below!


  1. Piano, piano! :) You are welcome to come over to my house and play my piano any time you want. I'm sure it's loney and needs a friend since I have not fondled it's keys in a while! ;)


  2. haha! A worthy pursuit! Well, when I was debating what instruments to play, I thought of practicality. Almost everywhere has a piano hence, this would be a valuable instrument to play. However, the guitar is also very popular. The downside of this instrument is that you have to carry it with you everywhere. And, you can really only play chords on it unless you learn classical guitar. So, in my opinion, the piano is a superior instrument for practically purposes. But hey, why not go double time and learn both? Can't hurt after all! plus, if you would learn piano- maybe we could play duets! Or, you could at least finish learning half the pieces you started and stop annoying me by quitting the piece half way through :)


Thanks for joining the revolution! Leave a comment on the topic, ask a question for me to answer, or just share your thoughts!