the neglected musician

November 18. 1999

I've been thinking about the things I had to give up when I went to art school. I realize now that for every decision you say yes to, there are three or four you have to say no to. Time is finite, my resources are finite, my talent is finite. So I am beginning to realize there just are some things I'm never going to able to do.

My musical life (as it were) began when I was six and started taking piano lessons. I think I learned to read music earlier than that, because I honestly can't remember learning. Maybe I picked it up from church hymnals, I don't know. But I know when I started to take piano lessons, I loved it. It's a love that survived three teachers (two I loved , one I hated) and almost 13 years.

Then in sixth grade, I really began paying attention to my vocal attributes, and found I was quite good at singing. This continued through middle and high schools, thanks to my school's strong choral program. As much as I disagreed with Mr. Marks, the director of the whole choral department, I have to give him some credit for helping me shape my voice. I have to give most of the credit, though, to one of my best friends, and vocal teacher of four years, Jeanette. Not only a wonderful, amazing person, but an inspiring teacher and a talented singer herself (last summer she sang the National Anthem at a Phillies game).

Another turning point for me was discovering the work of Tori Amos in eighth grade. I was languishing in the world of Beethoven and Bach, utterly bored, til one day my friend Alexis lent me an album called "under the pink". She thought I would like it because I played the piano. Never had I heard so much passion coming from an instrument and a voice. Then I saw her play live on TV. Never had I seen so much energy in a performance. All on an instrument I thought was boring. Suddenly, I knew more things were possible. I really think it's because of Tori's music that I continued to play the piano.

Music is, for me, one of purest forms expression I can think of. There are some things I can do with music I doubt I'll ever be able to express through a visual medium. There have been times I've been playing at the piano, and for a moment I'll just lose all sense of myself and just be the music. That may sound melodramatic, but it's the only way I can describe.

But, as much as I love it, music was always a thorn in my side, in a way. I always wanted to do more with it. Most of all, I wanted to write my own songs. Ever since I heard Tori, I wanted to write my own music so badly. But I never seemed to able to. I'd try over and over again. As one of my friends, who's also a musician, keeps telling me to "just sit down and do it", I can never seem to. I also dream of just being able to just fly on the piano. To not have to worry about what I lack as a pianist, technically and otherwise.

I've always wanted to get better. I know I have a lot of talent as a pianist and a singer, I just haven't tapped them properly or worked on it enough to get the results I want. I kept saying all along, oh, when I get to college, I'll get some really good private piano lessons and a good vocal coach and really work on it. Now, looking at how college is shaping up for me, it looks doubtful. Now I wonder if a dream I have is just slipping away. I always wondered what it would be suddenly just not have an option to do something anymore. I feel like I'm losing a chance I'll never have again.

I know this probably sounds incredibly whiny. God, she's only 19 years old and complaining about being washed up! Maybe I'm just taking some time away from music. Maybe I need it. Maybe I can work it out next year that I'll be able to take some music classes on main campus. I really hope so. I don't want this to pass me by, and really, there's no reason to think it should. I'm just scared because I feel like I'm getting too old.

music: Tori Amos - Mother (again? how did that happen?)
food: excellent passion fruit sorbet from the cafe
read: nothing
sight: a list of to-do's a mile long
random: let's not think of all the shit I have to do this weekend...
Song Lyric:
maybe i ain't used to maybes
- Tear in Your Hand, Tori Amos