The Joys Of Summer

Oh boy summer is almost here, and once again I’m taken straight back to childhood and the memories of all the wonderful things that this glorious season brings.
I played a lot of piano every summer when I was a kid. On rainy days, in the mornings before heading off to the beach, in the cool of the evening before bed.
I played all the songs I wasn’t allowed to play during the school year with my Royal Conservatory teacher. Going to buy songbooks of non-classical music became a happy summer tradition for me. I spent hours slowly figuring out songs I’d been listening to on the radio. I wrote my own pieces and strongarmed my piano playing friends into creating elaborate duets with me on dark stormy days.
Now I teach piano full time. And every summer I look forward to the joys of playing lots of great songs with a fair number of dedicated students who, like me, have discovered the fun of playing music more or less continuously during July and August.
Music can create such a virtuous circle in one’s life. You discover an instrument – maybe even more than one instrument – and you start practicing enough to notice your own improvement. This is incredibly exciting, you start thinking about all the songs you love and that maybe you could learn this one or that one…you practice more, and see more improvement. Material that used to be hard is now undeniably easier. You start setting your sights higher, tackling more and more repertoire. You play the songs you love over and over, they continue to get better, people say nice things about your talent, and you want to play more.
For me, this virtuous circle first appeared during long hot summers at home. Without the distraction of so many other school year activities, the hours and days stretched endlessly ahead and I ended up going to the piano every day, many times a day, playing my current song obsession and hearing it improve before my very ears. Don’t get me wrong, I spent plenty of time outside too cavorting in the sunshine.
In a way, it was the perfect work-life balance that I have yet to replicate as an adult. Devote hours to a solitary creative intellectual pursuit until restlessness sets in, run outside and devote hours to sheer physical exuberance and playing with friends, feel the pull of wondering about that song again and head back indoors to revisit it, until the next bout of restlessness. O, that the adult world allowed this way of life…I guess it does if you’re independently wealthy.
So once again I look forward to slipping into a gentle daze of playing piano and running around outside. And helping a fair number of dedicated summer piano students discover their own virtuous circle.
If you think you might like to fall in love with the piano this summer, please contact me…I can definitely help you out with that.